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  • Created on: 15-05-16 19:40

The Slave Trade

1.A British slave ship set off from Liverpool or Bristol, carrying trade goods, and sailed to Africa. 

  • Some slaves were captured directly by the British traders. They ambushed and captured local people in Africa. 
  • Most slave ships got their slaves from British 'factors', who lived full-time in Africa and bought slaves from local tribal chiefs. The chiefs would raid a rival village and sell their captured enemies as slaves.
  • In 1700, a slave cost about £3-worth of traded goods eg cloth, guns, gunpowder and brandy.The slaves were marched to the coast in chained lines called coffles, where they were held in prisons called 'factories'.

2.The ship then sailed across the Atlantic to the West Indies - the 'Middle Passage'.

  • In the West Indies the slaves were sold at an auction called a 'scramble'. Some were sent to 'seasoning camps' to be trained to obey, often using brutal methods.
  • The selling price of a slave in the West Indies in 1700 was £20, so there was a good profit to be had, which made the risks worthwhile.                                                                          3.Some ships, but not all, then loaded up with sugar and rum to sell in England.
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The Middle Passage

  • The Middle Passage refers to the part of the trade where Africans, densely packed onto ships, were transported from West Africa across the Atlantic to the West Indies or the New World. Slaves took the journey to the New World to work on the Plantations trade for white people. The voyage took three to four months/ 6-12 years and, during this time, the enslaved people mostly lay chained in rows on the floor of the hold or on shelves that ran around the inside of the ships' hulls.
  • They were treated like dirt, they were forced onto the boat by soldiers who had many forms of punishments like guns, thumbscrews, leg shackles and lock jaws all used on slaves if they ran away or they didn't do what they were told. 
  • The shelves were under a metre high and often the enslaved Africans could not sit up. There could be up to more than six hundred enslaved people on each ship. Captives from different nations were mixed together, so it was more difficult for them to talk and plan rebellions. Women and children were held separately.
  • The air was unfit for breathing as it had loathsome smells and bought on sickness which killed many slaves.
  • Between 1680 and 1688, 23 out of every 100 people taken aboard the ships of the Royal African Company died in transit. When disease began to spread, the dying were sometimes thrown overboard. Many slaves had a Mutiny and uprised when they were taken up on deck and many tried to throw themselves overboard.
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Life on the Plantations

  • For slaves, life on the plantation was grueling work, with little respite from the tyranny of the master or overseer's watchful eyes.  Depending on their size, plantations comprised a multitude of buildings: the homes of the master's family, overseer, and slaves, as well as outbuildings, barns, and workshops.  Large plantations operated like self-sustaining villages, and thus, were often isolated from the outside world.  
  • Work on these plantations was never-ending for slaves.  Adult male slaves were primarily relied on to tend the fields, pastures, and gardens.  Overseers on horseback equipped with whips monitored slaves, always threatening to punish "stragglers" with a flogging.  Plantation owners also exploited the work of skilled slaves, such as blacksmiths and carpenters, for their own ends.  Lastly, female slaves and young children usually served as domestics, tending to the master's family as cooks, servants, and housemaids, and were often starved and whipped. 
  • Music and religion were sources of strength for slaves, and they infused both with African culture and meaning.   Because slaves often did not have the means to obtain many musical instruments, they often improvised and used their feet to tap out a tune in coordination. "Patting juba," or jubilee beating, took the form of a variety of dances that were usually accompanied by song.  Despite white southerners' attempts to "Christianize" blacks, slaves infused Christianity with their own African tribal and folk customs, creating a religion that spoke to their suffering and promised freedom in the afterlife.
  • They had more independance, they lived in small villages in small huts, they grew there own food and sold them for extra money at the local market. The marketplace was like a social place for the slaves and something to look forward to as well as earning extra people.
  • They had to go to white church but they weren't treated very well and they didn't allow a black preacher. 
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Rebellion and Resistance

Many slaves have-

  • Not conformed
  • Resisted
  • Outright disobediance
  • Not followed rules or expectations
  • Physical
  • Taken over ships on the Middle Passage
  • Ran away
  • Taken own life

There is Active Resistance- Active Revolts were the most daring form of active resistance employed by the slaves, very physical etc: Escape, pain, using weapons on slave owners. Passive Resistance- Very sublte resistance, etc: Working really slow, pretending not to understand, faking illness. 

Runaways- Risk of capture, punishment is high, some ran away alone, some with family, some runway plans were organised, some saw a chance and ran for it. they might've been helped by other slaves, some were taken in ny Indian people. Others hid in swamps, forests and mountains for years. Some went North because there was less slavery there.  Underground railway system- A term that is used to describe a system/network that helped slaves escape. In the system they all had railway type code names such as "station" and "conductor"

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Harriet Tubman

Life as a slave was difficult. Harriet first lived in a one-room cabin with her family that included eleven children. She was sometimes beaten and all she got to eat was table scraps.                                                                                                                    The Underground Railroad-                                                                                                                                                    The Underground Railroad During this time there were states in the northern United States where slavery was outlawed. Slaves would try to escape to the north using the Underground Railroad. This wasn't a real railroad. It was a number of safe homes (called stations) that hid slaves as they traveled north. The people that helped the slaves were called conductors. Slaves would move from station to station at night, hiding in the woods or sneaking onto trains until they finally reached the north and freedom.                                                                                                                                     In 1849 Harriet decided to escape. She would use the Underground Railroad. After a long and scary trip she made it to Pennsylvania and was finally free.  In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. This meant that slaves could be taken from free states and returned to their owners. It said that it was illegal for any citizen to assist an escaped slave. In order to be free, slaves now had to escape to Canada. Harriet wanted to help others, including her family, to safety in Canada. She joined the Underground Railroad as a conductor. Harriet became famous as an Underground Railroad conductor. She led nineteen different escapes from the south and helped around 300 slaves to escape. She became known as "Moses" because, like the Moses in the Bible, she led her people to freedom. Harriet was truly brave. She risked her life and freedom to help others. She also helped her family, including her mother and father, to escape. She was never caught and never lost a slave. The Civil War Harriet's bravery and service did not end with the Underground Railroad, she also helped during the Civil War. She helped to nurse injured soldiers, served as a spy for the north, and even helped on a military campaign that led to the rescue of over 750 slaves. Later in Life After the Civil War, Harriet lived in New York with her family. She helped poor and sick people. She also spoke out on equal rights for blacks and women.

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