The idea of brutal practices of human bondage is hard to entirely understand. The emotions involved in keeping a human captive are beyond understanding. It’s dehumidifying, sickening, and painful to understand how Africans were enslaved from their homelands. Packed side by side, shoulder to shoulder under planks, and no room to breathe or move, lay the African slaves. The inhumane treatment of the slaves consisted of brutal beatings, starvation and sexual assault on the women.
In addition, they were sold and ere robbed Of their independence dignity during the long hard voyage Of the Middle Passage. The Middle Passage was a harsh slave trade of millions of Africans that was literally stolen away from their native lands, leaving behind their families, work, heritage, and everything that was familiar to them. Africans were robbed of their independence, humanness and were reduced to cargo, commodities among continents, including the trading of black men, women, and children who were treated like property.
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Europeans were not use to the harsh climate of Africa as a result of the extremely warm tropical limited it was difficult the Europeans to work. It seemed like the Africans would be the perfect solution to the Europeans problems due to the fact that the Africans were used to the tropical climate and immune to these diseases, had experiences in agriculture, and were already a market for Europeans. This introduced the slave trade to North America.
There had always been slavery in Africa amongst their own people, men from different tribes/villages would raid other villages to kidnap the women to use them for the Europeans own pleasures and use the men as slaves. Learning they could actually profit room this activity, this made the job of getting slaves very easy for the Europeans. Slaves acquired through raids, transported to the seaports where they were held prisoner in forts until they were traded. This was the first part of the long journey. The slaves would travel from the inner part of Africa, to the coast of Africa.
This long walk across the country side was a very long and hard journey many of the slaves could not endure the journey to the coast of Africa; only about half of the slaves would live thru this journey. This journey includes men, women, and children. The Middle Passage journey took five weeks to several months. Elmira Castle built in 1482, was once owned by Prince Henry, and was one of the forts the slaves were kept until they were traded. The castle was originally used for trading, housing gold and ivory, but later changed to human cargo.
The storerooms were converted into holding cells. The Europeans kept the men and women in different cells. These cells could hold up to 1000 men and up to 400 women. There were many floors in the castle; the higher up you lived on the floors depended on how important you were. On the top floor, were governor resided. The women would be taken to the court yard and cleaned so the governor could sexual assault them as the guards took the women back to their cells they too would sexual assault them.
From the castles the Africans were sold to the captains of the slave SSH pips. After the goods were loaded off in Africa; the slaves were loaded onto the ships. The second leg of the journey carried slaves across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. The trading of slaves was very lucrative for the Europeans. In business, the higher the demand, the larger the quantities supplied. All the slaves were branded by heated irons to show who they belonged to, and the male slaves were shackled together and packed in the hole, the women and children could occasionally stay on deck.
Any acts of aggression by the men or women resulted in severe beatings to discourage the behavior. While in the hole they were feed a paste of porridge n. ‘lice a day. They were not allowed to use the bathroom, bathe, or clean themselves. Some captains allowed the slaves on deck once a day, to exercise or to be scrubbed down with vinegar and warm water. Needless to say, disease was rampant on many hips. The smell of human waste was unbearable. Many slaves died as a result of this the dead bodies were thrown overboard.
In some cases, the person chained to the dead, were thrown overboard along with the dead. Starting out with hundreds of slaves the journey across the Atlantic to the Caribbean (West Indies), many slaves were wiped out from diseases or illnesses. Those who were left behind were washed and made presentable for sale. Some were sold in the center of the town on blocks so the buyers could see what they were buying, others would make payments on slaves without even seeing the slaves.
The slaves would be sold to work on the cotton fields, coffee plantations, or even sugar plantations; and become the property of the white man who bought them there. They were sold regardless of any family ties among the group, and ages were not taken into consideration. Literature suggests that the human cargo were sold for very high profits. These profits were used to buy sugar, molasses, spices, coffee, and tea from the islands of the West Indies. There were different triangular routes taken from Europe. Sometimes the hips came from Portugal.
Other times these ships came from England. No matter what route was traveled, it resulted in the exploitation of Africans. Throughout the Middle Passage, slaves were mistreated, deprived of their individuality, and abused even if they were human beings. These slaves deserved to be heard and tell their stories about their past. As a result of this others would become more aware of these ruthless of mistreatment of slaves and take into consideration their State Of minds during their horrible existence thru this pitiless voyage.