Native Canoe

The Voyage of the USS Juniata (1883-1885)

Native Canoe

From Zanzibar and Mafia Island the Juniata sailed to the Island of Johanna, now known as Anjouan, in the Comoro Islands, northwest of Madagascar. Johanna was known to be a favorite spot of pirates, including Captain Kidd, during the Age of Piracy. While at anchor a slave of the island’s ruler swam out to the ship to take refuge, an event which precipitated a polite but tense exchange of letters between Captain Harrington and Sultan Abdullah, “King of Johanna.” In a letter the king informed the captain that the man had committed a theft and “taking this circumstance in consideration I believe you will be so kind to take the protection of the American flag from him and deliver him on shore to be tried and sentenced.” In his reply Captain Harrington acknowledged the circumstances but asserted that the laws of the United States forbade him from returning the fugitive, saying, “the man is free to go…but if he remains on board I will give him free passage to the United States.” Harrington had been an officer for the Union Navy during the War Between the States.

Comoro Islands