The Ship They Called The Zong (Poem)

A poem written by Liam of the Mongoose Collective to mark the anniversary of the Zong massacre of 1781.


Over 132 slaves were thrown into the ocean between 29th November and the first few days of December 1781. Alive and bound. Many of them women and children. The Liverpool syndicate behind the massacre, which included a town mayor, claimed insurance on those thrown overboard. They even went to trial to fight their case.

The short film which accompanies this poem features a number of paintings, photographs and wood cuttings representing various aspects of the Transatlantic slave trade. Some of them such as the Turner painting and the wood cutting depict the actual massacre itself.

As Liverpudlians we are horrified that the city council has all but forgotten about this massacre. There has been no attempt to acknowledge it or discuss it in an educational or humanitarian capacity. We cannot allow the council and local historians to sidestep this chapter in our history or airbrush the past.

Here is a list of all the images featured. They are in the public domain:

Stowage of a British Slave Ship, Brookes (1788) – Created 1 December 1788

Barco en el que se Transportan Negros para su venta en Europa y América, FAL (Cropped)

Scourged Back by McPherson & Oliver, 1863 (Cropped)

The Slave Trade by August Francois Biard, 1840 (Cropped)

A Liverpool Slave Ship by William Jackson (Cropped)

Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhoon Coming On (“The Slave Ship”) By J.M.W Turner (1840) (Full and Cropped)

Zong Crew Throwing Sick Slaves Overboard, 1781