The Middle Passage is a story about slaves who were put to work on to complete trades. The root of this story took place in the 18th century point of trade which was lead by Merchants in places such as Liverpool, Nates, and Lisbon getting prepared for the African trade. Within this, some saw the opportunity to contribute goods, and disposing surpluses. Africa’s paid in enslaved people who would then work, but they wouldn’t be paid.
Some of the sailing ships would employ in the trade were built for carrying large numbers of people. Some ships capacity was only between 30-40 tons. The majority of ships were in the range of 150-200 tons which was occupied and carried 300-400 slaves. Often times, the ships weren’t equipped for enough food to last the entire journey, resulting in death from starvation, as well as dehydration. After the ships settle, and most of the spaces were being purchased boarding then began. Boarding resulted into captives being loaded into canoes, or small boats which were then taken out to the large vessel located at an anchor well offshore.Order now
Often times boarding would take days, weeks, or even months. “Ships taking on captives in this slow fashion, or those buying at several points along the coast, found themselves delayed for long periods with holds partially filled their slaves sickening and starting to die, and provisions being steadily consumed by the survivors.”(48-49) “Food and water spoiled and ran short. Diseases incubating in the bodies of the slaves, particularly contagious maladies like tuberculosis, smallpox, or measles, could devastate a cargo. Members of the crew sickened and died as well, leaving the remaining sailors shorthanded to manage the slaves and the ship.”(49-50) These two quotes really stood out to me because they were both very graphic.
I’m also surprised that if they’re in a trade, how come they’re not better equipped to keep these people alive. To me it’s defeating the purpose if you’re losing a bunch of people while on your voyage. If it were me running this voyage, I think I’d prepare to have more medics with me to avoid death. With that being said, with more medics comes more responsibility and you’d then need more supplies. I think in the long run equipping themselves with medics would lower the death count, which could result in more profit in the end.