THE SLAVE SHIPS
Slave ships were large cargo ships that were specially made in the 17th to 19th centuries to transport slaves for trade. These ships are also known as Guineamen because the trade involved the trafficking of human beings to and from the Guinean coast in West Africa.
Slave trade in the Atlantic
By the early 1600s, more than a century after the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, the demand for unpaid labor at plantation work made slave trading a profitable enterprise. The peak period of slave ships to the Atlantic crossing was between the 18th and 19th centuries when large plantations developed in the southern colonies of North America. Ship owners divided their hulls into holds with little headroom to ensure profitability. The main objective was to be able to transport as many slaves as possible. As a result, slaves suffered from dehydration, dysentery and scrutiny, which caused an increase in the mortality rate for slaves.
As the name suggests, they were doing what Americans say
Conditions on the slave ships
Given the number of slaves, the food was not sufficient, and did not respect the sanitary standard, not very diversified and not very vitaminized.
So many slaves suffered because they were scantily clad or even almost naked and chained at the ankles in a warehouse with almost no light. Men, women and children are not in the same place.
Crew of the slave ships
The crew hired by the captain is up to two or three times more numerous than that of a normal commercial ship. This is one of the reasons for the very high cost of preparing a slave ship. The captain also had to think about not being short of men during the voyages despite diseases and epidemics. The mortality rate of the crew was between 10 and 15% on these slave trade ships. This rate is higher than that of the captives.
In addition, the crew was sometimes cosmopolitan, with Scandinavian sailors rubbing shoulders with their Spanish, Portuguese and Genoese colleagues.