The Middle Passage

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The introduction of international trade throughout the continent provided the Americas with goods once thought unattainable. Different trade routes began to stem from the original triangle route. All of these routes had one goal; to transport the goods in high demand in the most time and cost efficient way. The different branches were trading systems between the America’s, Europe, and Africa. Through these routes, captains traded goods and services such as slaves, sugar, tobacco, cotton, textiles, and many other manufactured goods. One history changing route was the Middle Passage. The course of this route was used to transport kidnapped Africans so they could be enslaved in the Americas. Within a three hundred year period, it is approximated that over ten million African slaves were kidnapped and trafficked to the Americas through the Middle Passage. The plights of the slaves across the middle passage were increased by the physical abuse, emotional abuse, and horrific living conditions they faced on their journey. During their trip across the Middle Passage, the African captives were subjected to despicable and inhumane physical abuse. Slaves were stacked on top of each other during the packing process. Taken from their homes and family’s straight into the bondage of enslavement, slaves were whipped and beaten until they complied. One slave ship physician, Dr. Thomas Trotter, described the slaves as “locked ‘spoonways’ and locked to one another” (Document C). Slaves were chained together in the hold to prevent possible rebellions against their white abductors. It was very uncomfortable for the slaves in the tween decks, for there was no space for them to move, and even the slightest movements caused their shackles to cut into their skin. While many slaves obediently complied with restraints and orders, some dissented, causing them to face the severe consequences for their behavior. As Thomas Phillips, a slave ship captain, writes in his account of traveling the...
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