The Middle Passage
The Middle Passage was the route slave trading ships took from the west coast of Africa, where slaves were taken from their homes, to across the Atlantic, where they were sold or traded for various goods and services. However, the Atlantic slave trade did not only take slaves from within Africa. Nearly as many Africans were exported across the Sahara Desert, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Out of all the Africans that were forced to undergo the voyage to the Americas, it is estimated that for every 100 slaves that made it to the New World, 40 more died. The Middle Passage is known today as the most dangerous, longest, hardest and horrific part of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The terrible conditions the slaves were faced with is a prime example of the horrors that was the slave trade. The countries that participated in this trade were England, Spain, Portugal, France, the Dutch Republic, Denmark, Sweden and Bradenberg from Europe, and Brazil, South East of America and the West Indies in the New World. By 1654, around 10,000 Africans would undergo the Middle Passage every year and for the next hundred years that number would steadily increase. It reached its height sometime around 1759, when the number steadied at around 70,000. Approximations on the overall number of Africans that were forced to travel the Middle Passage ranged from 9 to 15 million and out of this number, it is estimated that between 3 and 5 million died before they even made it to the Americas. The voyage could last anywhere from one month to six, depending on the weather. During this time the slaves were treated as ‘cargo’ instead of human beings. The enslaved Africans were confined to sitting cargo holds below the deck, near the bow and stern of the ship. The men were often held in chains while the women and children were given a bit more freedom. Because the slave traders wanted to make as much money as possible, they forced the Africans to spent the entirety of the...
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