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African Americans: The Middle Passage

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How were captives treated during their journey otherwise known as the Middle Passage? The Middle Passage refers to the journey in which Africans were transported across the Atlantic to the West Indies as slaves and were then sold or traded for raw materials. Due to the fact that Africans were considered as less than human, the conditions they were forced to endure during the Middle Passage were appalling. Evidently, the conditions varied by ship and voyage, yet the same problems arose; disease, abuse, lack of food and water as well as inadequate living conditions. The captain and crew members didn’t pay much consideration to the Africans, in fact, they were chained together and crammed below decks in order to fill ships to their maximum…show more content…
However, the widespread of disease could have been partly prevented if captains had provided basic hygiene, yet a bucket was all captives received, if at all. To make matters worse a bucket would be shared between multiple slaves, many of who wouldn’t even bother to use it, but to relieve themselves while laying down. This meaning that the Africans had no other choice than to lay in their own excrement for the duration of the voyage. Having to live under these conditions, disease would always be a constant. Obviously, the slaves would attempt to resist, in many instances it was refusing to eat or committing suicide. In turn, crews often force fed or tortured slaves and put nets on the sides of ships to keep slaves from attempting suicide. Rebellions were also common, despite the issue of originating from different nations, therefore speaking different languages, affecting communication and planning. However any resistance was met with corporal punishment in the form of whipping. After taking into consideration the lack of space, limited food and water, abuse, and disease, a high mortality rate of an estimated 15% of slave passengers dying en route is understandable. The treatment was undoubtedly inhumane, one can argue it was the event during the slave trade that stripped African people of power and
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