African Resistance To Slavery

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Starvation was a common form of resistance onboard the slave ships. Usually, if one slave refused to eat, others would follow. Slave captains punished those who refused to eat severely. Doctor Alexander Falconbridge recalls the ruthless methods of punishment:
Upon the negroes refusing to take food, I have seen coals of fire, glowing hot, put on a shovel and placed so near their lips as to scorch and burn them. And this has been accompanied with threats of forcing them to swallow coals if they persisted in refusing to eat…I have also been credibly informed that a certain captain in the slave trade, poured melted lead on such of his negroes as he obstinately refused to eat. If everything else failed, slave captains resorted to using a
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The deplorable living conditions experienced by the African slaves made matters worse. An even more intense form of resistance than starvation was suicide. Serious and untreated depression led to an increase in suicides:
Some slaves employed various items on the ship in the quest to take their own lives. Some found loose lengths of rope or articles of clothing and used them to hang themselves. Others located knives, sharp pieces of metal, wooden stakes, or other instruments and used them to cut their throat or otherwise mortally wound themselves. A few found poisons or toxic substances to drink. Many slaves chose to jump into the shark-infested oceans rather than allow the Europeans to determine their destiny. The enslaved Africans believed that in death their souls would return to their native homeland, Africa.

Many slaves chose to jump into the shark-infested oceans rather than allow the Europeans to determine their destiny. The enslaved Africans believed that in death their souls would return to their native homeland of Africa. Finally, the abducted Africans could be reunited with their family and
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As the Europeans greed grew, so did the brutality towards the slaves
d. The most famous atrocity at sea, the Zong Massacre
The Zong Massacre exemplifies the Europeans greed, as they used African slaves for insurance. No effort was made to protect or bury the slaves who died onboard the slave ships. Simply thrown overboard into the shark-infested oceans; it was cheaper than caring for the sick.
On September 6, 1781, Captain Sir Luke Collingwood loaded his ship at Saint Thomas on the African coast with a cargo of four hundred seventy (470) slaves en route to Jamaica. The ship had taken on more slaves than it could safely transport. Losing more than sixty Africans and nearly half of the Zong’s crew to illness, Capt. Collingwood ordered all infected individuals to be thrown into the ocean. Collingwood claimed, “deaths were ‘perils of sea’.” Collingwood claimed the loss against the insurance policy: Luke Collingwood knew that if sick slaves died a natural death from diseases such as dysentery, smallpox, or dropsy…the loss would be that of the ship’s owners (and Collingwood himself would have to bear some of it). If slaves had to be thrown alive into the sea to protect the safety of the ship and crew, the law stated that

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