The Middle Passage Facts

The Middle Passage Facts
The Middle Passage was a triangular trade route between Africa, the New World, and Europe. This passage began in Europe, where ships were loaded with goods and sent to Africa, where they were traded for African slaves. The slaves were taken to the New World and traded for raw materials which were then shipped back to Europe. The African slaves were either kidnapped or purchased - they had not chosen to venture to the New World to be owned by colonists. While approximately 15% of the African slaves died on the ships during the voyage to the New World, more died in Africa before reaching the ships, a result of the process of capturing and taking the slaves to the ships. It is estimated that approximately 2 million Africans died as a result of the Middle Passage.
Interesting The Middle Passage Facts:
Countries that took part in the Middle Passage included Portugal, England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Brandenburg, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, the Caribbean, North America, and the Americas.
The African slaves were from eight general areas in Africa including West Central Africa, Southeastern Africa, Bight of Biafra, Bight of Benin, Gold Coast, Windward Coast, Upper Guinea, and Senegambia.
The goods being shipped to Africa in exchange for slaves included iron, brandy, gunpowder and weapons.
The slaves taken from Africa were shipped to the New World. From there they were sold and taken to the American colonies, Central/South America and the Caribbean.
The slaves were traded for goods such as sugar, cotton, molasses, rum, and tobacco, which was then taken to Europe.
Between 1440 and 1640 the Portuguese had the monopoly on African slave export.
During the 1700s the British slave traders were responsible for transporting approximately 2.5 million of the 6 million African slaves out of Africa.
A typical slave trader's ship could carry approximately 30 crew members and several hundred slaves.
It is estimated that approximately 12 million African slaves were forced to come to the New World, and were sold into slavery there against their will.
Conditions on the ships transporting the African slaves were horrible. It was hard to breathe because they were packed in so tight. They were often chained to each other to avoid problems of rebellion.
When ships were faced with a water shortage it was common for the crew to chain the slaves together and throw them overboard. The crew of the ship the Zong chained 132 together and threw them overboard - and the French ship La Rodeur drowned 39 slaves in 1812. Drowning was covered by the ship owner's insurance but death because of sickness (which would occur without water) was not covered. Drowning the slaves meant there would be no loss of money.
Common diseased that killed the African slaves included scurvy, and amoebic dysentery.
Common diseases that plagued the African slaves included the measles, syphilis, and smallpox.
In the 1700s the cost to purchase an African slave in the New World was approximately $800 to $1200. Today this would be equivalent to $32,000 to $48,000 each.
It was common for African slaves to protest by refusing to eat or by committing suicide.


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