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On this date, in 1712, the New York Slave Rebellion occurred.
Reacting to harsh treatment by their masters, about 25 African slaves and Native Americans set fire to an outhouse. They ambushed their oppressors, killing nine men and wounding several others. The slaves then fled into the woods, where, within two days, more than 40 had been arrested, and six others committed suicide before apprehension. Twenty-seven slaves were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, although most of the evidence used to convict them was questionable. eighteen were acquitted, and six, including a pregnant woman, were let go.
Many disagree on the exact number of people executed, but about twenty were hanged, and three more were burned to death. Chains hanged one man until he died; another was broken on a wheel. Shortly after the rebellion, New York’s legislature toughened its own early slave codes. Slaves gathering in groups of three or more were subject to 40 lashes, and property crimes were deemed punishable by death.