The History Of Slave Trade From Africa To Europe America

The portrait and struggle of the abuse Africans underwent during the

The first slave ship was built in Massachusetts, 1637. In which the ships, also known as slavers, would sail from America to West Africa in exchange for goods. The Europeans also took a great part in the transportation of African slaves across the Atlantic and once the adequate number of slaves were acquired aboard a slaver they would set out for sail anywhere from five weeks to three months, heading back to America or Europe where many slaves would be sold at a slave auction to the highest bidder. This process is recognized as the Middle Passage.

Though slavery existed long before the arrival of the Europeans, under subject of the Muslim religion in the eleventh century the exportation of African slaves increased and in time Europe and West Africa found themselves exchanging guns for slaves. Yet, the definition of slavery in Africa was not tantamount to the American or European vision of slavery. Slavery in Africa was a symbol of honor and not an instrument of wealth and greed. African slaves were permitted to live very normal lives. They had sanction to marry, own property, and customary legal rights. Many of them had significant skill and learning. While in America slaves underwent brutal beatings, hard labor, and lack of respect.

While some slaves shipped to Europe and America had previously been African slaves, many enslaved had been innocent bystanders. It was not uncommon for the Europeans to hide and wait for an African to come along, and then kidnap him. The retrieval of slaves was also obtained through Africans convicted of a crime. It was also likely for Africans of a tribe to be captured by an enemy tribe as a prisoner of war and then exchanged for goods. This lasted from the 15th to the 19th century, devastating the lives of at least ten to twenty million Africans. All forced into foreign enslavement, exported in exchange for imported goods. This is known as the slave trade.



During their voyage slaves were governed by a system of fear, torture, and brutalization. This type of system was enforced by the crew in order to contain the slaves who were desperate, afraid, and would usurp any opportunity to regain their freedom by overthrowing the crew in order to obtain control of the ship.

Slaves were branded with hot irons and shackled two by two. The left wrist and ankle of a slave bound to the right wrist and ankle of another and during a stormy voyage it would not be uncommon for the elbows of the slaves to be worn down to the bone. They were forced to live in a hold or deck -the head room divided by two-ranging no more than five feet. Tightly packed with little to no room to sit up. Made to sleep with no covering on hard wooden floors.

Women and children were allowed to roam the upper deck during the day, in which they were pursued by white sailors, some slaves more than likely were raped. This was not classified as the beginning of their suffering.

In Africa, before they were forced aboard the slavers, once they were captured, the slaves were tied together to prevent escape. After the right amount of slaves were kidnapped, they would then be taken to slave factories in which their state and quality of health would be examined. The measure of their strength and well-being analyzed. If the slave happened to fail this examination, he would be set free and would not have to endure the horror aboard the slavers. The horror of hundreds upon hundreds of slaves packed tightly together. The torridness of the climate enclosed within a hold in which one slave crowded upon another could barely move resulting in an unyielding amount of perspiration amongst the slaves. The air becoming unsuitable for breathing, from a number of abhorrent odors, causing the death of many.

Slaves had to endure many injustices, such as; suffocation, brutalization, fear, rape, and hopelessness among others. There was also disease: smallpox, scurvy, dysentery, and more. These diseases often spreading from slaves to the crew, killing a myriad of people. Along this journey many slaves found themselves in a state of fixed-melancholy. As they saw there was no longer a reason to live. At this point some slaves would jump off the ship and remain under water, until they killed themselves. Others would starve themselves to death. This causing the captain to resort to drastic measures, for fear of losing his valuable cargo. The slaves who chose to starve themselves would be force-fed or tortured, if not both. Africans would often be forced to eat with what is called a speculum orum, a device which held the mouth open. They could not even elude enslavement through death.

Then, there were those contrary moments when slaves were expendable and partial reimbursement, if not all, could be acquired through insurance. Circumstances such as, food would run low or some slaves would not recover from their illnesses. The voyage was insured, but reimbursement did not include slaves who had been taken ill or slaves that died from an illness. The captain would then proceed to chain the slaves together and have them thrown overboard to drown. Slaves that finally arrived in America, but became sick along the way were either left to die along the road or shot.

The Africans that remained healthy were put on display at public auctions and examined in a ridiculous and humiliating manner. A buyer might lick the African's chin to determine the age of the slave, or taste his sweat to decipher if he was healthy. Once they were purchased, who was to say they would receive a kind owner. If Americans and Europeans had used such a harsh manner to obtain slaves, it was probably nearly impossible for slaves to believe that once they were in America or Europe that there would be an improvement.

Many auctions ripped mothers away from their children, husbands away from their wives, sisters away from brothers. It is devastating to envision how this must have affected a human being. Scrutiny passed from one to the other, from mother to child, and so on. Three hundred years of slaves being chained together, thrown overboard to drown. Three hundred years of slaves tightly packed together suffocating from the lack of air ventilation. Three hundred years of kidnapping. Three hundred years of children being taken from their mothers. Three hundred years of rape. Three hundred years of fear. Three hundred years of crying. Three hundred years of enslavement. Three hundred years of treating a human as though they weren't human at all.

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