Sengbe Pieh is captured by illegal slave traders near his village in Sierra Leone, Africa. He and many other blacks were forced to march 3 1/2 days before being chained and loaded onto a slave ship bound for the Spanish colony of Cuba. There, because Spain had outlawed the bringing in of slaves (as the US had as well), he and the other captives were given European names and false identity papers to make it seem as though they had been brought to Cuba before the slave trade was made illegal. Sengbe Pieh (who was now Joseph Cinque), along with 53 other blacks, was purchased by two partners and loaded onto a schooner. Cinque, fearing for his and the other prisoners' safety, picked the lock on the chain around his neck before freeing the others. Using huge sugarcane knives, they organized a mutiny against their captors, killing the ship's captain and taking their "owners" prisoner. Cinque, who wanted to sail back to Africa, was tricked, and the ship arrived in Connecticut. After many court cases, their situation reached the Supreme Court in 1841, where John Quincy Adams helped to defend Cinque and the others. In the end, the Court ruled that the slave traders had captured the blacks illegally, violating the "you can't bring slaves into these countries" law, and so they were free.