African slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade began after the first relations between continents that brought the Old World (Europe and Africa) into contact with the New World (America). For centuries, currents had made travel across the oceans particularly difficult and risky for the ships available at the time, which had prevented contact between these continents. In the 15th century, however, new European technological developments allowed the construction of ships better prepared to face the high seas and these currents, making travel across the Atlantic Ocean possible. In doing so, European merchantmen came into contact with societies on the west coast of Africa and in the Americas with whom they had never before come into contact. Slavery was practiced in some parts of the Americas.
Slavery was practiced in parts of Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas before the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. There is evidence of slavery carried out by some African states, who exported slaves in turn to other African, European and Asian states prior to the European colonization of the Americas. The slave trade in the Americas was not a slave trade in Africa, and the Americas before the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade.
How slaves were transported from Africa to America
The captures were carried out through what was called the “great pillage”: surprise raids on the villages, burning the houses and capturing the villagers as they fled. What this entailed, for those captured but also for those who remained in the village, who saw their young men disappear without explanation, is magnificently explained by Leonora Miano in La estación de la sombra.
In this book, Redinker focuses on the voyage itself and the space in which it took place: the slave ship. “The slave ship not only transported millions of people into slavery, but also prepared them for it” (p. 464) . This sentence sums up well what Rdiker wants to tell in his book, in which he approaches the slave ship as something that went far beyond a mere means of transportation. A place where the most absolute violence was used to control the prisoners and where everything was designed to subjugate them: the distribution, the space (always minimal), the punishments and even the choice of prisoners. To avoid interaction among them, the slaves who traveled on each ship were from different areas and had different languages, so that they were “unable to consult with each other,” as Richard Simson wrote.
“Of the 11 million enslaved Africans who arrived in the Americas, about half came down in Brazil, meaning that Brazil and the South Atlantic are the center of the transatlantic slave traffic, which came particularly from the Congo River delta and what is now the city of Luanda (Angola),” he said.
It is a database of the transatlantic slave trade as the culmination of several decades of independent study and collaborative research by scholars who have sourced information from libraries and archives throughout the Atlantic world, said Alex Borucki.
The other revolutionary part of this project, he stressed, is that researchers from any corner of the globe can contribute information, making it a living database.
On the same site, there is also the Intra-American database, which contains information on domestic trafficking or trafficking within Latin America, where 11,400 slave voyages were recorded.
Life aboard a slave ship
Slave ship or slave ship were the names used to designate the vessels dedicated to the transfer of enslaved people from Africa to America, mainly in what was called the triangular trade and which was the product of the terrible transatlantic slave trade, whose victims we remember on March 25.
When the captives reached the ships on the African coast, after being forcibly taken from their villages, the traffickers kept them chained there while waiting for new prisoners to arrive, where they could wait from three to six months. The idea was to multiply the capacity of the ships to the maximum by dividing the space to the minimum. All this only led to inhuman hygienic conditions, dehydration and all kinds of diseases among the population on board, as well as a diet reduced to corn porridge, beans, millet, etc., once or twice a day, if they were lucky.
All this increased the mortality rate by 15 to 33%, despite the efforts of the slavers to keep the enslaved people alive in order to better profit from them.