Presentation on theme: "Slave Ships For some a wooden coffin; for others a passage to hell on Earth."— Presentation transcript:
Slave Ships For some a wooden coffin; for others a passage to hell on Earth
Overview The slave trade started in West Africa and lasted from 1650-1860 and the primary means to deliver slaves to America was the slave ship. Slave ships would dock in African ports and kidnapped or trade for what ended up as 20 million slaves. African people were crowded into a ship headed back to the Americas. Around 2 million died on the harsh voyage across the seas or soon after. Those who did not found themselves traded like property and enslaved.
The Slave Ship’s Construction Slaves would be crowded below deck, where cargo usually goes, into what is known as the hold. There were various platforms where slaves would be laid supine side by side and stacked to transport as many as possible. The ship here has four sections, two expanding the length of the ship. One was for women, the other for the men. This particular ship could carry 451 slaves. The Brookes http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USASships.htm
The Middle Passage The middle passage was the known term for forcibly transporting African people on the route from Africa to America. Ships would carry goods from Europe in exchange for slaves from Africa to be taken to America The middle passage trade route is from Africa to America. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Passage--slave route picture
Overcrowding on ships Hundreds of people would be crowded in to the hold of the ship in every amount of available space. Besides the horrible stench of hundreds of sweaty bodies with no outlet for fresh air, death was a concern due to loosely stowed cargo and being crushed by others if the ship shifted weight too quickly. In one account it was determined that men were given 23 inches of space on average wheile the women were granted 13 inches.
Conditions on a slave ship Overcrowding aside, these other factors added to the horror: The hold of the ship allowed for no fresh air, so disease and stench were rampant Many were shackled and chained to the ship in some fashion Feces, urine, blood, and vomit accumulated quickly For the duration of many voyages the slaves would remain lying on their backs or hunched into other uncomfortable positions
Treatment on the ship The slaves aboard the ship were treated inhumanely in the following manners. The crew was allowed to do whatever they liked, from yelling slurs, to beatings, to rape. The crews were small so extreme control efforts were used, such as muzzles and whips Food and water were given in highly rationed proportions
Disease Due to the unsanitary and confined quarters disease was rampant in slave ships. Smallpox, Yellow Fever, and dysentery (all highly contagious and deadly) claimed many lives Dehydration, diarrhea, and scurvy also prevailed Often to prevent outbreak, the dead and diseased were thrown overboard and left to fate.
A personal account from one who experienced the horror “I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a greeting in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life; so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste anything. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think, the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely.” Olaudah Equiano
The Last Slave Ships Slave trading was banned in 1809, but continued regardless In Key West, 1860, three slave ships were intercepted and over 1,400 slaves were set free They continued their initiative by providing food and shelter for all those freed from this ship The rising against this injustice for many marks the end of slave trading, at least by ship http://www.melfisher.org/exhibitions/lastslaveships/video.htm--video
Works Cited Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society http://www.melfisher.org/exhibitions/lastsl aveships/intro.htm--last slave ship Spartacus http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USA Sships.htm Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Passag e--slave route picture PBS http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1narr4.html