“Slaver” ships were specifically designed for maximizing the numbers of African men, women, and children that slave-trading captains and their crews could bring to the Americas.
Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions.
Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team.
Although incredibly profitable for both its participants and their investing backers, the terrible Middle Passage has come to represent the ultimate in human misery and suffering.
The abominable and inhuman conditions which the Africans were faced with on their voyage clearly display the great evil of the slave trade.
The conditions that millions of Africans endured during the Middle Passage into Amerian slavery stands as one of the greatest examples in history of human beings inflicting dehumanizing suffering on fellow human beings.
As British abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759-1833) stated, “Never can so much misery be found condensed in so small a place as in a slave ship during the Middle Passage.” In the holds of slave ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, millions of enslaved Africans first experienced what it meant to be defined and treated as chattel property in the context of New World slavery.Though the ocean passage may only last a few weeks, the overall Middle Passage often took months because European slave captains lengthened the voyage by making stops in various African ports to seek more slaves to fill their ship hold.They also made numerous stops in American ports to attempt to sell their enslaved cargo at the best prices.The slaves were ill-fed and suffered malnutrition and starvation.In fact, when food supplies and drinking water dwindled, the ships' crews were given priority, and some slaves were thrown overboard to relieve pressure on the limited resources.Estimates for the total number of Africans lost to the slave trade range from 25 to 50 million.The Middle Passage was a term used to describe the triangular route of trade that brought Africans to the Americas and rum and sugar cane to Europe. The journey from Africa to the Americas would take as many as 30 to 90 days.Many of the ships were called 'loose packers' or 'tight packers', describing the capacity of the slave ship.To conclude, the smell of rotten bodies thrown overboard lured sharks to the ships route.The Middle Passage was the longest, hardest, most dangerous, and also most horrific part of the journey of the slave ships.With extremely tightly packed loads of human cargo that stank and carried both infectious disease and death, the ships would travel east to west across the Atlantic on a miserable voyage lasting at least five weeks, and sometimes as long as three months.