On Board Slave Ships

331 Words2 Pages
On board Slave Ships-English * Captives on the slave ships were often of poor health from the mental and physical abuse they suffered. When taken on board, they were stripped naked and examined from head to toe, by the captain or surgeon. * The conditions on the ships were appalling. The men were packed together and secured with leg irons. There was no space and everyone was cramped, often having to crouch or lie down. Women and children were kept in separate quarters which gave them limited freedom, however it also exposed to them violence and sexual abuse. * There was a constant threat of disease, the air was foul and seasickness was very common. Lack of sanitation and suffocating meant that there was a constant threat of disease such as smallpox, scurvy and measles. When these diseases spread, the sicker Africans were often thrown overboard. There was a case where 132 captives drowned so that the slave-ship owners could claim on the insurance. * Some European governments such as the French, and British introduced laws to try to control the conditions on board the ships. For example they reduced the number of people allowed on board and required a surgeon to be carried. However the principal reason for taking this action was for the crew on board and not the captives. * Ships that were designed to hold 300 people were often crammed with over 600 Africans. The slaves were chained to each other and would not be able to sit up. They would lay in their own filth, and they had to use 3 or 4 buckets as toilets. * Food on board mostly consisted of starch: biscuit, flour, yam and beans. Occasionally they were given salt beef or lime juice. * Crews often named their slave ships with ironic names such as ‘hope’. * Many of the captives could not survive with the level of torture and deprivation, and many of the Africans that arrived in the
Open Document