Atlantic slave trade

Slave ship diagram (sardines come to mind):

Wikipedia:

The slave trade used mainly the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were Africans from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders (with a small number being captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids), who brought them to the Americas.

The South Atlantic and Caribbean economies especially were dependent on the supply of secure labour for the production of commodity crops, making goods and clothing to sell in Europe. This was crucial to those western European countries which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with each other to create overseas empires

The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires.

Current estimates are that about 12 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic, although the number purchased by the traders was considerably higher, as the passage had a high death rate.

“It is now estimated that 11,863,000 slaves were shipped across the Atlantic.” (Note in original: Paul E. Lovejoy, “The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa: A Review of the Literature”, in Journal of African History 30 (1989), p. 368.)

10 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  March 30, 2018

    I remember seeing this ship schematic years ago. One of my top ten images of all time. It leaves a lasting impression..and sadly, lasting hatred that many blacks cannot escape.

    • David

       /  March 31, 2018

      It’s not that different to the accommodation for the crew on a naval ship at the same time,

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 31, 2018

        In theory, perhaps, but the slaves were crammed in and many died en route.

        I have a great book by, I think, Simon Schama about this; it’s called something like Rough Passage.(I haven’t read it for ages and don’t want to go and look)

        • David

           /  March 31, 2018

          Many sailors died too, mortality for sailors on slave ships was higher than for the slaves, nearly twice the rate in fact.

          Don’t forget the majority of the Royal Navy at this time was press-ganged into service. Most of the armies in Europe at the time were also forced service too, and extremely harsh.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 31, 2018

            I know that ! I have read a lot of English history.The press gangs used to lie in wait around fishing towns. Mrs Gaskell wrote a novel that showed the misery caused by the press gangs.

            Don’t forget that conscription is the modern equivalent of press gangs.

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  March 30, 2018

    The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 formally freed 800,000 Africans who were then the legal property of Britain’s slave owners. What is less well known is that the same act contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of those slaves, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their “property”. The compensation commission was the government body established to evaluate the claims of the slave owners and administer the distribution of the £20m the government had set aside to pay them off. That sum represented 40% of the total government expenditure for 1834. It is the modern equivalent of between £16bn and £17bn.

    The compensation of Britain’s 46,000 slave owners was the largest bailout in British history until the bailout of the banks in 2009. Not only did the slaves receive nothing, under another clause of the act they were compelled to provide 45 hours of unpaid labour each week for their former masters, for a further four years after their supposed liberation. In effect, the enslaved paid part of the bill for their own manumission.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/12/british-history-slavery-buried-scale-revealed

    • sorethumb

       /  March 31, 2018

      Remember that while we look back in horror, up until then slavery had been normal for thousands of years.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 31, 2018

        I read a book in recent years about a young woman who was a slave when she was taken to the UK (she escaped, by good fortune meeting a man who spoke the local language/dialect of her home) When she applied for residence rather than going home where her life was in danger as her family’s would have been(threats were made), she was told that being a slave wasn’t enough to count as a refugee ? political asylum ? This caused a real hoohah, there were protests and marches and the government changed its mind…this was this century, by the way,

  3. sorethumb

     /  March 31, 2018

    The White Slaves of Barbary

    Much attention and condemnation has been directed towards the tragedy of the African slave trade, which took place between the 16 th and the 19 th centuries. However, another equally despicable trade in humans was taking place around the same time in the Mediterranean. It is estimated that up to 1.25 million Europeans were enslaved by the so-called Barbary corsairs, and their lives were just as pitiful as their African counterparts. They have come to be known as the white slaves of Barbary.
    http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-africa/white-slaves-barbary-002171

  4. sorethumb

     /  March 31, 2018