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Description Of A Slave Ship

Description Of A Slave Ship

Author: Unknown

Medium: Letterpress

Date: c.1801

Shelfmark: 1881.d.8 (46)

Item number: 1

Length: 60.2

Width: 48

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Printed Text

This is a plan of a slave ship which transported enslaved Africans to the Caribbean. Traders knew that many of the Africans would die on the voyage and would therefore pack as many people as possible on to their ships - in total there were 609 enslaved men, women and children on board this ship. The conditions would have been appalling. Each person occupied a tiny space in the hold, - in this case they had to lie in spaces just 10 inches high and were often chained or shackled together in pairs, making movement even more difficult. The cramped conditions meant that there were high incidences of diseases such as smallpox, measles, scurvy and dysentery. Because of the long distances involved food and water was rationed and always in short supply or ran out completely. The only escape from the cramped positions were short periods of exercise on the deck, although this would only have occurred in good weather.

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