The Middle Passage, was it just the route taken by the slave ships across the Atlantic, or rather, the time in our history when humans were ripped from their native land,chained & shackled aboard a slave ship, being transported to a "New World". Which will you recall,the route or the ship?
The combined talents of authors, David Mannix & Malcolm Cowley offers an in depth view into our history as it relates to The Middle Passage in their Febuary 1962 issue of American Heritage & our supplemental reading chapter 4.
The authors makes it clear right away, that Europeans did not originate the idea of exporting slaves along the African coast. This had been a practice of the merchants of Timbuktu & the Moorish kingdoms north of the Sahara. There had also been a long history of transatlantic slave trade. Negroes (as called during this time peroid,refers to the African Americans of today) were in Santo Domingo by 1503, & the first 20 slaves were sold in Jamestown,Virgingia in 1619.
Once the sugar,tobacco,& rice plantations begin to flourish, so did the need for labor. Thus, the widespread growth of slave trade,exporting over 70,000 slaves across the Atlantic per year. This endeavor yield approximately 5 million enslaved persons to the New World.
Mannix&Cowley reminds us that "possibly one or two of a hundred___were free Africans kidnapped by Europeans". A large portion of those being brought to America against their wills " had been enslaved and sold to the whites by other Africans".
This triangular slaving voyage proved to be profitable for all, but the base, known as The Middle Passagewas the most profitable, carrying it's black cargo...."at the highest cost in human suffering".
Then comes a shift, when the authors takes their readers from the route of the middle passage, to aboard the slave ship of The Middle Passage. Thru the personal writings of slave captains,& articles found in newspapers during that time period, they are able to paint a...
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