THE MIDDLE PASSAGE

The nature of the “middle passage.”

The middle passage was a term coined to refer to how the slaves were transported from Africa on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean (Marcum, & Skarbek, 2014). The middle passage by nature was characterized by immeasurable brutality meted out to the slaves on board the ship. Diedrich, Jr, & Pedersen, (2014) observes that the African slaves were always packed in quarters that were not fit for proper breathing or movement and made to lie shoulder to shoulder. This would usually take more than seven weeks. Moreover, the slaves were only fed ones or twice every day. The condition of the place was unbearable; crammed with the smell of urine, vomit, and excrement filling the hold. As such their only hope of escape was to jump off to the sea and commit suicide.

How the “middle passage” affected international communities and economies

“Middle Passage” indeed affected the international communities in various ways, in Africa. Mukhtar, Kura, Abba, & Ahmed, (2013) explains: the transatlantic trade deprived the communities of the productive people who could spur economic growth. Nevertheless, the powerful people who engaged in the trade made sizable profits. This however did not have a significant contribution to the growth of African economy that lagged and stagnated behind those of Europe and America in the 18th century. The slaves met the Europeans labor demands in the plantation systems. The “middle passage highly influenced the economic transformation of Europe and even North America”. The British cotton mill, for instance, which was the emblem of industrial revolution depended upon the labor of slaves. Much of economic growth was realized in Europe and America while it stagnated in Africa.

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