No one present at the Battle of Cape Lopez in 1722 could have known that they were on the edge of history. There was no way to predict just how monumental an impact this obscure but fierce naval battle off the coast of West Africa would have on British colonies and the future of slavery in America.

Pirates of the Slave Trade focuses on three fascinating figures whose fates would violently converge: John Conny, a charismatic leader of the Akan people who made lucrative deals with pirates and smugglers while making enemies out of the British and Dutch; the infamous pirate Black Bart, who worked his way from an anonymous navigator to a pirate king and one of the British Empire’s most notorious enemies in the region; and British naval captain Chaloner Ogle, tasked by the Crown with hunting down and killing Black Bart at all costs. At the Battle of Cape Lopez, these three men and the massive historical forces at their backs would finally find each other—and the world would be transformed forever.  

In this landmark narrative history, historian Angela Sutton outlines the complex network of trade routes spanning the Atlantic Ocean trafficked by agents of empire, private merchants, and brutal pirates alike. Drawing from a wide range of primary historical sources, most of which—because they are written in Dutch and German—have not been engaged with by popular audiences, Sutton offers a new perspective on how a single battle played a pivotal role in reshaping the trade of enslaved peoples in ways that affect America to this day.  

Between its engaging narrative style filled with swashbuckling naval battles and tales of adventure at sea, its wide array of rigorous and detailed research, and its implications towards modern America, Pirates of the Slave Trade is an essential addition to every history reader’s shelves.