The horrifying execution of Kwaku, a slave from Ghana who planned to make Antigua an African state
Antigua is a Caribbean country. In 1704, 10-year-old Kwaku (also known as Prince Klaas) was captured form Gold Coast (Ghana) during the massive Eguafo War. The war was fought between the Danish and Britain over trade rights in Ghana (Gold Coast). Those two countries took advantage of the war and captured many locals as slaves and sold them off to slavery.
After being captured, Kwaku was shipped to the Caribbean and was immediately purchased by Thomas Kerby, a rich and prominent sugar planter. At a young age, Kwaku exhibited strength and bravery standing up to white supervisors who harassed him or any of his friends.
In 1728, Kwaku came up with a plan to rid the island of all westerners, abolish slavery and make the island of Antigua an African state. After figuring out a great way to execute his plan, he shared details with several like-minded slaves who helped him develop his plan. The strategy took 8 years to plan and in 1736 was ready to be carried out.
Unfortunately for Kwaku and his allies, the plan was leaked to several slave masters by a slave who stayed anonymous for his own safety. The ball was postponed and Kwaku and several of his allies were captured.
Kwaku and five other leaders of various plantations were executed by “breaking on the wheel” – a horrifying death sentence that was a form of crucifixion.
Kwaku is now a hero, on every 22nd October, the people of Antigua and Barbuda mark the execution of Kwaku whose name has been established as Prince Klaas. In St Johns, a monument of Prince Klaas/King Court stands in the town and was built by Sir Reginald Samuel. At the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, art and history of Prince Klaas are on exhibition. 2018 marked the 282nd anniversary of Prince Klaas’s execution.
#Our history, our heritage