The Middle Passage Was A Sea Journey Essays

The Middle Passage Was A Sea Journey Essays

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The middle passage was a sea journey by slave ships from West Africa to the West Indies and Americas from 1601-1857 (University). The first successful African author, Olaudah Equiano (Donaldson) portrays the vivid details and personalizes these destructive forces of slave trading during the middle passage. In his narrative, Equiano influenced British abolitionists, as well as European slave masters, and convicted them of their wrongdoing. Slave trading during the middle passage was the most destructive thing to happen within the African culture because of the harsh physical and psychological effects, inhumane treatment, and dehumanization of slaves.
Equiano’s enslavement lasted from 1756 – 1766. The number of Africans enslaved and traded varies from source to source, but a good estimate of slaves taken across the Atlantic was around sixty million. Of this number, only 16% survived (Donaldson). Although there were many African’s on the journey, there were many different artifacts from different African cultures. Some of the artifacts came from Nigeria, Sengal, Congo, Liberia, and Angolia (On the Water). This suggests that there were likely people from many African countries (Smithsonian).
Equiano’s account of the middle passage started when he was kidnapped and enslaved at the age of eleven years old. Equiano survived the ten years of cruel enslavement and bought his freedom with the help of his last master Robert King. He then went on to write his narrative of the situation. The narrative was a personal statement of the slave trade to help urge the British government to abolish slavery all together. At the time of the writing, Equiano was considered an ameliorationist. An ameliorationist is a person who would rather make some...


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...ips. If a slave was able to purchase his or her freedom, there was no guarantee that anyone else would acknowledge their freedom. The slave trade stripped the last thing they had, humanity. The slave trade was responsible for millions of innocent African deaths. Equiano’s narrative established an honest account for these inhumane treatments and personalized the information to allow the reader to have a connection. Equiano also said that if slavery were abolished in these cultures, there would be better trade opportunities available to Europe (p. 121). With the help of his account of middle passage, the British government regulated slave trading with “The Slave Trading Act of 1788.” The eventual abolition of slave trading happened with “The Slave Trade Act of 1807.” Even though on paper they were emancipated, dehumanization continued to occur in the African culture.

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