The Middle Passage

The Middle Passage

Length: 799 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Most history books has recorded that between the years 1701-1760, millions of Africans were literally stolen away from their native lands leaving behind their families, work, heritage, and everything that was familiar to them. Robbed of their independence and ‘humanness’; they were reduced to cargo. This was what ‘the Middle Passage’ also known, as the ‘Slave Triangle’ was all about; the trading of goods and commodities among continents including the trading of black men, women and children who were treated like property.
     The first leg of the journey was from Europe, mainly Portugal to Africa. Many of the goods produced in Europe were not available in Africa or America. The Europeans traded manufactured goods, including weapons, guns, beads, cowrie shells (used as money), cloth, horses, and rum to the African kings and merchants in return for gold, silver and slaves. Africans were seen as very hard workers who were skilled in the area of agriculture and cattle farming. They were also used to the extreme temperatures that people of lighter complexions could not bear. There had always been slavery in Africa amongst her own people, where men from different tribes/villages would raid other villages to kidnap the women for their pleasures, and the men to use as slaves. To learn that they could actually profit from this activity made the job of getting slaves very easy for the Europeans. Slaves acquired through raids, were transported to the seaports were they were help prisoner in forts until traded.


Once the goods were off loaded in Africa and the slaves loaded, the second leg of the journey carried slaves across the Atlantic Ocean to the North Americas (the new world).
     It is prudent to speak here to the inhumane way in which the slaves were transported during this first leg of the journey. The trading of slaves was very lucrative for the Europeans. As it goes in business, the higher the demand, the larger the quantities supplied. All the slaves were branded to show to whom they belonged, and the male slaves were shackled together and packed in the hole like sardines, while the women and children were sometimes allowed to stay on deck.     Any acts of aggression by the men or women resulted in severe beatings to discourage the behavior. Imagine being beaten and shackled with a rival tribe man or not being able to communicate with the person beside you because you both spoke different languages!

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Middle Passage." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jul 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=91482>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Middle Passage Was A Sea Journey Essays

- 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....   [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade]

Research Papers
1390 words (4 pages)

The Extreme Cruelty of the Middle Passage Essay

- There is no other experience in history where innocent African Americans encountered such a brutal torment. This infamous ordeal is called the Middle Passage or the “middle leg” of the Triangular Trade, which was the forceful voyage of African Americans from Africa to the New World. The Africans were taken from their homeland, boarded onto the dreadful ships, and scattered into the New World as slaves. 10- 16 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic during the 1500’s to the 1900’s and 10- 15 percent of them died during the voyage....   [tags: slavery]

Research Papers
1719 words (4.9 pages)

The Middle Passage : Tracing The Path Essay

- The Middle Passage: Tracing the Path from Human to Commodity In order to better understand why and how subhuman treatment arose and its effects on slaves in the Middle Passage, I have chosen to focus my research around how the presentation of slaves being treated differs according to different accounts in their rhetorical context. My research will center on the book The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano, in which the author recounts his experience as a slave going through the slave trade....   [tags: Slavery, African slave trade]

Research Papers
1211 words (3.5 pages)

The Middle Passage And Early America Essay

- The Middle passage and early America are crucial events that took place in African American History. Africans where forced from their homelands in Africa and forced onto a ship, unknowing the hardship they would soon encounter. Ships filled compactly with African men, women and children as they journeyed in squalor, diseases, starvation and despair. Shackled together like animals, the early African in the Americans were slaves. Servitude was not foreign to African people; before the Africans were slaves they were indentured servants....   [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, African slave trade]

Research Papers
939 words (2.7 pages)

Terror of the Middle Passage Essay

- A popular literature has painted this part of the slave experience as uniquely evil and inherently more inhuman that any of the others horrors of the slave life(Klein 130). Slaves were taken from their homes and was forcibly traded.One cannot, of course, mention the Middle Passage without eliciting the horrors of tightly packed men, women and children chained together, to keep them from rebelling, or from choosing the suicidal fate of jumping overboard. The mortality of captives in Africa, therefore, included not only losses among those headed for export at the Atlantic coast but the additional losses among those destined for export to Orient among those captured and transported to serve Afr...   [tags: Slavery]

Free Essays
895 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Middle Passage: A Review

- Reading Portfolio Middle Passage is a novel filled with different techniques such as allusions, foreshadowing, humor, character transitions, and many other techniques. Charles Johnson, the author of this amazing novel wanted the readers to acknowledge the past and present events. He connects the past and the present with many different examples. One example is when the police hit Santos for no reason. This comparison is made very clear and simple enough for the readers to understand that police brutality continues to this day....   [tags: African-American Literature]

Research Papers
494 words (1.4 pages)

Middle Passage Essay

- INTRO Examination into the true heart of experience and meaning, Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage looks at the structures of identity and the total transformation of the self. The novel talks about the hidden assumptions of human and literary identity and brings to view the real problems of these assumptions through different ideas of allusion and appropriation. As the novel tells Rutherford Calhoun’s transformation of un-awareness allows him to cross “the sea of suffering” (209) making him forget who he really is....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Charles Johnson]

Research Papers
1238 words (3.5 pages)

The Middle Passage Essay

- Most history books has recorded that between the years 1701-1760, millions of Africans were literally stolen away from their native lands leaving behind their families, work, heritage, and everything that was familiar to them. Robbed of their independence and ‘humanness’; they were reduced to cargo. This was what ‘the Middle Passage’ also known, as the ‘Slave Triangle’ was all about; the trading of goods and commodities among continents including the trading of black men, women and children who were treated like property....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
799 words (2.3 pages)

Essay Middle Passage

- Middle Passage European slavers altered the way that different African people viewed one another and themselves. The book by Miguel Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave is a strong account that can be used to explore how Africans changed their perception of each other, and how this change influenced the lives of Africans in the Americas. First of all it is important to examine how many African slaves were brought to the New World. The Middle Passage is infamous route of the ships that carried slaves to the Americas....   [tags: History]

Free Essays
1311 words (3.7 pages)

Middle Passage Essay

- Middle Passage The triangular trade system was so named because the ships embarked from European ports, stopped in Africa to gather captives, after which they set out for the New World to deliver their "human cargo," and then returned to the port where they had originated. The Middle Passage was that leg of the slave triangle that brought the "human cargo" from West Africa to North America, South America, and the Caribbean. Depending on ship design, weather conditions, and points of departure and arrival, the journey across the middle passage lasted from six weeks to three months....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
428 words (1.2 pages)

While in the hole, they were feed a paste of millet (porridge) twice daily, they were not allowed to use the bathroom, or to bathe or clean themselves. Some captains allowed them on deck once daily to exercise or to be scrubbed down with vinegar and warm water. Needless to say, disease was rampant on many ships and the smell of human foul was unbearable. Many slaves died as a result and their bodies were thrown overboard. In fact many slaves ended up strangling their shackled counterpart or neighbors to make more space in the hole for themselves.


     The next leg of the journey was across the Atlantic to the Caribbean (West Indies). Although the journey may have started out with hundreds of slaves, sometimes the whole shipment or a large portion of it would be wiped out from
illnesses or disease. Those who were left were washed and made presentable for sale. They would be sold to work on the cotton, coffee or sugar plantations, and became the property of the white man who bought them. They were sold regardless of any family ties among the group, and regardless of their ages. Most literature suggests that the human cargo was sold for very high profits. These profits were used to buy sugar, molasses, spices, coffee and tea from the islands of the West Indies.
According to Holt et al, the first stop was Brazil where 32.2% of the slaves were sold; then to the Dutch West Indies where 9.4% were sold; the French West Indies, where 22.0% were sold; the British West Indies, where 21.0% were sold, and then the Spanish and North Americas where the remaining 14.80% were sold. It is this part of the journey which is known as the Middle Passage.
     The middle passage journey took from five weeks to several months. The last part of the journey took the slave traders back to Europe for the final part of the trip. It must be noted that there were different triangular routes taken from Europe. Sometimes the ships came from Portugal and sometimes from England. No matter what the route was, it resulted in the exploitation of Africans.



Sources:

·     Holt, Rinehart, Winston. ST9 Atlantic Slave. http://www.go.hrw.com. Accessed
Tucker, October 12th, 2003. (Date of publication unknown).
·     Thomas, Hugh, The Slave Trade. Simon & Schuster, 1997.
http://www.africanhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa080601a.htm Accessed Tucker, October 11th, 2003.

Return to 123HelpMe.com