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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade - Research Paper Example

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In the paper “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” the author focuses on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which has normally been considered only regarding the adults. West Africa was the source of these African slaves and they were mainly made to work on plantations in the United States, Latin America…
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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
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"The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade"

Download file to see previous pages The trans-Atlantic slave trade has normally been considered only regarding the adults. However, now children’s experiences are also being counted. According to an estimate, children made up one-quarter of the African slaves made to migrate to America. In spite of this big number there is indeed a lack of sources and apparently, no importance is given to what the children experienced, leaving their voices unheard. Enslavement Children were very unwilling to participate in the slave trade and in spite of their age they saw themselves captured and in imprisonment after the war. The women, children and the older people became particularly vulnerable after their men were killed during the war; the ones who were spared death were then ransomed or even sold as slaves. After military expeditions, there were commercial caravans that actually brought textiles and imported goods and traded the slaves with those. Another way of acquiring slaves, particularly children, was through kidnapping and this method was more common in certain regions in West Africa. The kidnapping was done when the kids were away from their parents or guardians, maybe simply playing outside, working in fields or taking a calm walk. This was not the only way, however, and the traders even bought children from their families who were more than willing to “sell” them for money since they were desperate for money and food. Still, others were pawned or bargained for by their parents or used to repay debts or given to be acquitted of any crime they or their family members might have committed. Weak children were also sometimes sold and so were the ones whom their parents thought brought them ill luck. The upcoming events after the capture were a nightmare for the slaves. The traders sold off some children to be sent for the coast while others were sold many times. Several of these kids remained within Africa only and became slaves to whoever bought them. Many others could not survive the sea route. The ones who were able to reach the coast alive were taken to a factory or post where merchants bought them and kept them inside prisons with the other slaves. These children were then completely stripped and their bodies were rubbed with palm oil. Many times their heads were also shaven. After the merchants had bought their slaves they “branded” them in order to make sure that their “property” does not get mixed up with someone else’s and they are able to distinctly make out which their cargo is. The brand was normally a symbol on their chest or back. The Middle Passage According to the slave traders the individuals less than 4’4’’ in height were considered to be children and these children were permitted to stay on the deck with the women. These deck people were, on rare occasions, given certain favors such as giving them old clothes, teaching them how to play certain games or even how to sail. Some children, however, did not play or eat while others preferred to stay with the women and cry all night. If a child was taller than the specified height he was automatically kept with the adults and there they were treated like an adult too. The conditions there were worse and there was no concept of hygiene. If they cried or did not eat or sleep they were punished harshly.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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