“The Slave Ship: A Human History” Written By Marcus Rediker

Good Essays
“The Slave Ship: A Human History” written by Marcus Rediker describes the horrifying experiences of Africans, and captains, and ship crewmen on their journey through the Middle Passage, the water way in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Americas. The use of slaves to cultivate crops in the Caribbean and America offered a great economy for the European countries by providing “free” labor and provided immense wealth for the Europeans. Rediker describes the slave migration by saying, “There exists no account of the mechanism for history’s greatest forced migration, which was in many ways the key to an entire phase of globalization” (10). African enslavement to the Americas is the most prominent reason for a complete shift in the…show more content…
Many slaves would die along the route from disease, starvation and/or the elements, their bodies dumped overboard for the sharks to eat. Africans who arrived at their destination and appeared healthy after being cleaned and oiled were sold and would most likely spend the rest of their life cultivating crops such as cotton or sugar cane. To really show the horrendous conditions that the slaves endured, the author includes a 1787 replication drawing of the slave ship Brooks. Built in 1781 with a lower deck intended to accommodate 294 slaves, giving each slave a space comparable to the size of a coffin. Adult males were allocated a space six feet long and fifteen inches wide and allowing even less space for adult women, boys, and girls. The height of the same area was just five feet, and did not include any toilet facilities for the slaves. In most cases, the captains would load double the number of slaves their ships were designed for leading to even worse conditions onboard with more mouths to feed but not enough provisions to compensate. Those slaves who died during the journey through the Middle Passage were simply thrown overboard, where their bodies were eaten by ravenous sharks. Rediker explains that captains of slave ships rationalized their brutality by stating that it was detrimental to chain the slaves in order to prevent rebellions where the salves might
Get Access