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Conditions on Slave Ships
Transcript of Conditions on Slave Ships
John Newton Enslaved Manufactured goods ZOOOM It took to days for the captains to load their boat with slaves. There was two ways of packing a ship to deliver slaves in other countries: one was called the loose packing and the other was the tight packing. The loose packing was a system which transported fewer slaves ships could carry, to reduce the disease and deaths that easily spread among the slaves. However, the tight packing was the cruellest way. It was based on the fact that the more slaves traders could transport the more money they would make. So they carried as many slaves their boats could carry, and often more. "The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us"
In the worst case, captains did not provide any kind of hygiene. In other boats, captains would place buckets for the slaves’ excrements, but there was never one bucket per slave. Slaves who were sitting close to the buckets had a chance to use it, but the ones further away often fell over others and hurt themselves while trying to reach the buckets. Since they were severely attached around the ankles and wrists, the slaves soon gave up trying to reach the buckets and they preferred to ‘ease’ themselves where they were sitting. The sanitary conditions were so bad that the rooms where the slaves were kept were so hot and humid that the floor was covered with a layer of filth during most of the voyage. "The deck that is the floor of their rooms, was so covered with blood and mucus which had proceeded from them in consequence of the flux that it resembled a slaughter-house. It is not in the power of human imagination, to picture itself a situation more dreadful or disgusting"
Alexander Falconbridge Suicide attempts were many to be committed, and in painfully ways. Slaves tried to jump overboard and even asked others to strangle them. The most common way to commit suicide was to avoid eating. Starvation suicide attempts became so common that the captains ordered the crew to vigorously open the mouths of the slaves who reused eating. Slaves believed that their death would return them to their homeland, to their family and friends. To stop the slaves from killing themselves, the sailors started chopping off the head of the corpses, and scared the slaves by saying that when they died, the slaves would return to their homes headless. Even with all the precautions taken to stop any kind of suicide attempt, many healthy and well-fed slaves died. Diseases were very common on boats and they spread easily because of the poor hygiene, and also because the slaves were packed up al together. Death statistics could be very important. The flux, smallpox and scurvy were the most disease spread on boats. To prevent scurvy (disease from a lack of vitamin C), the sailors forced the slaves to be more active and participate to “dance”. The “dance” was when sailors vigorously whipped the slaves, who jumped with pain. The whips often tore out the slave’s bruised flesh. Those brutal treatments of slaves are what led to a high number of suicides during the Middle Passage. Food was a very big problem to both slaves and captains.
The captains often thought that food was too expensive, so they bought as little food as possible. The captains often thought that food was too expensive, so they bought as little food as possible. The captains often thought that food was too expensive, so they bought as little food as possible. But many captains simply decided to buy as little food as possible, even if much of their slaves died of starvation. There was a rule about the amount of food that had to be taken in a slave ship, but many captains ignored this law. Another rule about the water needed on a boat was imposed, but later on. The ‘feeding’ of the slaves took place in the deck’s boat. The slaves were taken out cautiously, and sailors fed them. Many soldiers with loaded gun were surrounding them, in order to avoid a slave rebellion. In other boats, the slaves were fed by the soldiers, in their ‘rooms’. The Dutch fed their slaves three times a day and the food was rather decent. The French fed their slaves with stew of oats daily cooked, and dried turtle meat or dried vegetables were sometimes added. The English fed their slaves twice a day, and the slaves ate their meals through small fat tubes. Water was another problem aboard, but captains were more careful about the amount of water they took for the journey. In hot weather, there was a lot of dehydration, but most of the year, slaves had enough water. They often drank more than a normal person would, simply because their ‘rooms’ were hot and humid. Tobacco Cotton Sugar Textile Rum Africans Sources google-image.com
"The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us" "This morning buryed a woman slave . Know not what to say she died of for she has not been properly alive since she first came on board"
John Newton Example: In a Portuguese ship, a hundred out of five hundred slaves died in one night because of an unrecorded disease. "…frequently finds several dead; and among the men, sometimes a dead and living negroe fastened by their irons together. When this is the case, they are brought upon the deck, and being laid on the grating, the living negroe is disengaged, and the dead are thrown overboard"
Alexander Falconbridge Slave probably whipped during the "dance". The English fed their slaves twice a day, and the slaves ate their meals through small fat tubes. Thank you for watching (;
- Garance Fichet