capture and voyage - The Middle Passage
Kuya talks about the capture of the slaves - and the
involvement of the Europeans and Africans in the procurement
She also describes the conditions on board ship both for the
slaves and the sailors during the lengthy Middle Passage.
wanted to transport the maximum number of slaves at the highest profit
and maximum survival rate.
In practice this meant unbelievably cramped conditions, extraordinarily
harsh discipline, and immediate death to any who showed signs of disease.
soon as slaves were taken aboard, the men were shackled two by two,
the right wrist and ankle of one to left wrist and ankle of another.
taken in the Transatlantic Slavery Gallery at The Maritime Museum,
© National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside
men were packed together below deck and were secured by leg irons.
The space was so cramped they were forced to crouch or lie down.
Women and children were kept in separate quarters, sometimes on
deck, allowing them limited freedom of movement, but this also exposed
them to violence and sexual abuse from the crew.
tore off my clothes, bound me with ropes, gave me a heavy load
to carry, and led me to the town of Bonduku, and from there
to the town of Kumasi...
from there through Asikuma and Ajumak in the land of the Fanti.
There they sold me to the Christians"
KEKRES SIDDIK, KIDNAPPED 1804
has been estimated that from 1451 to 1870 between 10 to 12 million
slaves were exported from Africa.
crossing mortality rate was about 10%, (1.2 million).
captains used a system called loose packing to deliver slaves. Under
that system, captains transported fewer slaves than their ships
could carry in the hope of reducing sickness and death among them.
Other captains preferred tight packing.
slaves were often sold to European traders by other Africans.
Nana Kwame Nkyi XII (centre)
Nana Kwame Nkyi XII, Paramount Chief of the Assins, whose ancestors
raided for slaves and who now presides over an annual ceremony to
commemorate the souls of the slaves who passed through his town.