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The Middle Passage Essay

  • Submitted by: mxpimp34
  • on December 9, 2008
  • Category: History
  • Length: 553 words

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Below is an essay on "The Middle Passage" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

During the 1700’s African slaves had to endure some of the harshest conditions. On the west coast of Africa, Europeans built forts that served as trading places of the slaves. Europeans searched for and brought rum, cloth, guns and other goods from these places and also traded them for human beings. The slaves or “human cargo” were carried across the Atlantic Ocean to be sold to the New World slave owners. These people bought slaves to work their crops for them. The slave trade devastated the African life. It was especially hard on families, young men were abducted most frequently. With the slave trade came the introduction of guns. Slave raids and even wars increased. A young man named Equiano was one of these very slaves. He thought “that he had got into a world of bad spirits, and that the whites were going to kill him.”(Equiano, 10)
After the potential slaves were kidnapped, merchants forced them to walk in slave caravans to the European coastal forts. Which was sometimes as far as 1,000 miles. Locked up and poorly fed, only half the Africans survived these death marches. Equiano refused to eat others who had died on the way, so he paid by getting a beating by two white men. “One of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely.”(Equiano, 11)
The ones who were too sick were killed or left to die. Those who reached the coast were put into underground dungeons. They would stay for up to a year, until they were boarded on ships again, sometimes they were there for longer. Just as horrifying as these death marches was the Middle Passage. A normal Atlantic crossing took from 60 to even 90 days, but some lasted four months or more. Africans were often treated like cattle during the crossing. On the ships people were stuffed between decks in spaces that were too low for standing. The heat was often unbearable, and the air barely breathable. “I was soon put down under the decks, and...

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