The Atlantic Slave Trade Was A Complex System Essay

The Atlantic Slave Trade Was A Complex System Essay

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The Atlantic Slave Trade was a complex system, that delivered numerous horrifying experiences to millions of West Africans over hundreds of years. Although this trade was essentially a routine, for every similar component of the trade each group of Africans had their own unique experience. An example of a typical component with varying experiences is the middle passage and conditions upon slave ships during this journey.
Slave ships were a pivotal part of the trade in its entirety and the survival rate was often indicative of conditions aboard. These conditions could be affected in part by the captain of the ship. Some captains are slightly concerned with the welfare of the slaves while other captains are simply concerned with providing a shipment of slaves and receiving payment. Often times a captain who is concerned with the well being of the slaves tends to pack his ship loosely while one merely concerned with profit would be more of a tight packer. Tight packers tend to over pack their ship with anticipation of high death rates. If there was a surplus a captain would sacrifice a certain number of individuals usually pre selected because they are weak or defiant. This can be seen in Amistad when the slaving crew shackles a group of slaves to a bag full of rocks and sends them overboard. Loose packing typically involved the exact number of slaves that a slaving crew set out to retrieve. Loose packing usually resembled conditions seen in Roots. Kunta Kinte is seen having the ability to turn his body when trying to communicate with Wrestler and there is a decent amount of space between him and the person next to him. With a death rate hovering around 20-25% tight packers generally meet this quota whereas the death rate for a loo...


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...slaves. “The confined air, rendered noxious by the effluvia echaled form their bodies and being repeatedly breathed, soon produced fevers and fluxes that carries off great numbers of them.” (Falconbridge) It would have been in the best interest of a slaving crew to preserve the conditions of the Africans. A slave in better condition would make far more than a slave in deteriorating conditions.
Understandably, in such unbearable conditions Africans tried to revolt. Punishments for such acts varied from a beating to death. Once on board, although insured, captains preferred not to kill slaves being as they have paid for them. Death was often used as an example and as a deterrent in hopes of preventing any future uprisings. During the revolt in Roots death is seen as the primary solution due to the nature of the situation and Slater’s lack of care for the Africans.

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