The Middle Passage Essay

Submitted By cooliocaridee
Words: 712
Pages: 3

The period of time and travel was also a time of slavery and suffering for blacks all across Africa. The Middle Passage, also known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade, was a long voyage that took packed African slaves into a ship like sardines and took them to America. The trade started around the early 1500’s but quickly grew; by 1750 anywhere from 60,000 to 70,000 slaves were being imported from Africa to America every year. No one knows the extent of these numbers due to the lack of necessary paperwork back then, but based on what was documented and later clues, it is estimated that 9-15 million were taken on the Middle Passage, and many of them died on the way. The Middle Passage lasted for years and was considered by many sick and wrong, but many also saw the ideas that went into making this slave trade a economical success.
The Middle Passage was a part of a triangular trade that was going on at the time, the link between Africa and the West Indies then on to America. The triangle itself consisted of the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the West Indies; all traded different things that the other needed resulting in a continuous trade route that made a triangular shape--hence its name. Americas and Europe traded back and forth, America sending raw materials like lumber, fish, and tobacco in return for teas, spices, cloth, tools, and other ready-made things; the connection between Europe and Africa was all iron products as well as some rum from the Americas; Africa sent out slaves and gold to the West Indies who, from there, sent slaves, sugar, and molasses to America. This trade lasted for hundreds of years, and the Middle Passage was the most grueling route of them all.
Slaves were usually acquired unwillingly through raids or others being sold into it and often had no clue what await them across the seas. They were packed the boats, cramped into the underbelly of the ships and shackled together. Many starved or died from disease that ran rampant in these filthy living conditions, and many commit suicide, figuring an eternal sleep would be better than knowing they might never see freedom again. It wasn't just the slaves that were dying either, many white crewman would suffer the same fate; then again how could one not when death was a constant threat as disease, murder, starvation, suicide, asphyxiation, and severe depression rapidly claimed the lives of so many. And this was just the passage from one place to the other, often the conditions were equal, if not worse for the slaves when--if--they reached America.
It was awful, inhumane, immoral, and yet the Middle Passage was extremely lucrative; it was all about the trade and what one had in these days, and