1902 Encyclopedia > Slavery > Effects of the Slave Trade.

(Part 14)


Effects of the Slave Trade.

The hunting and stealing of human beings to make them slaves, which were already practised in Africa for the supply of the central states of that continent, as well as of the markets of northern Africa, Turkey, and other Mohammedan countries, were greatly aggravated by the demand of the European colonies. The native chiefs engaged in forays, sometimes even on their own subjects, for the purpose of procuring slaves to be exchanged for Western commodities. They often set fire to a village by night and captured the inhabitants when trying to escape. Thus all that was shocking in the barbarism of Africa was multiplied and intensified by the foreign stimulation. To the miseries thus produced, and to those suffered by the captives in their removal to the coast were added the horrors of the middle passage. Exclusive of the slaves who died before they sailed from Africa, 12 1/2 per cent. were lost during their passage to the West Indies; at Jamaica 4 1/2, per cent. died whilst in the harbours or before the sale, and one-third more in the "seasoning." Thus, out of every lot of 100 shipped from Africa 17 died in about 9 weeks, and not more than 50 lived to be effective labourers in the islands. The circumstances of their subsequent life on the plantations were not favourable to the increase of their numbers. In Jamaica there were in 1690 40,000; from that year till 1820 there were imported 800,000; yet at the latter date there were only 340,000 in the island. One cause which prevented the natural increase of population was the inequality in the numbers of the sexes; in Jamaica alone there was in 1789 an excess of 30,000 males.

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