The Middle Passage

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The Middle Passage was seen as the most terrible version of the slave trade. It was the event during the slave trade that one can argue stripped African people of power and pride. The African body was taken and forced to endure this passage to eventually be sold. This was a ship that the African believe that will take them to their fate. Slaves were captured in Africa and then squashed into wooden crates where they were clamped in chains. They were then loaded onto the ships and there were two ways in which they could be loaded. There was “tight pack”- where they would be laid on their sides, therefore you could fit more slaves in a ship, and there was “loose pack” where they were allowed to lay on their backs with just 14 inches of space each, so neither was particularly comfortable especially as they were lain on rough wooden shelves and clamped together so none could move without moving the rest of their row with them. The conditions below deck on the slave’s ships were appallingly unhealthy. During the average 4-7 week journey below deck was cleaned only once every few weeks averaging around being cleaned around 3 times in a journey-This took place whilst the slaves were exercised. The smell below deck was of vomit, sweat, urine, excrement, and was described as a “bile puking smell”. This was also made worse by the hot dense conditions. The noise was also awful – there was screams of agony, retching of people being sick, moaning, crying as people were scared of what lay ahead of them, chains clattering as people squirmed on the rough benches, and the sound of the waves battering against the ships sides. There was very little light in the slave hold as the trapdoor was shut and there could be no candles as the ships were wooden and the swaying of the ship could’ve knocked the candles over and set the ship alight. The air in the hold was dusty and humid, as there was very little fresh air, as there were no windows. All these elements mixed together, it was...
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