Middle Passage

“The Middle Passage”

Courtesy of Rod Brown at rodbrownsartcollection.com


The middle passage, also known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade is where an estimated 25 million to 50 million Africans were transported to the new world.  The African captives were laid side by side, coffin like, beneath the deck.  The journey from Africa to North America took from thirty to ninety days.  During the voyage, ships carried the stench of diseased and decaying bodies.  The few first-hand accounts that exist consistently reported the unsanitary conditions aboard ships on the longer journeys created high mortality rates, encouraged by the incidence of smallpox, eye infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and body sores. Some slaves committed suicide by refusing to eat or throwing themselves overboard. For others who died, slavers threw them overboard, providing sharks with continuous food along the shipping lanes. – Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History

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