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torsdag 24 april 2014


For at least 2000 years, humans have forced fellow humans to work for them, against their will. It might have started when a tribe defeated another tribe some thousand years ago, and took the losers as workers for their fields. Around 16th century, european travelers visited places such as africa, and enslaved africans to work on their plant ages and fields. They shipped slaves over the atlantic ocean in ruthless conditions, to sell them on auctions as workers.

The trade triangle.

Ships travel from europe towards africas west coast, were they buy slaves. they are packed into massive slave ships in chains, and many of them die of illness and inhuman conditions. The voyage over the atlantic, known as the middle passage takes about 6 to 8 weeks. In america, the surviving slaves are unloaded and sold to work on great plantages. The ships then returned to europe with slave-labour goods such as sugar, coffee, wheat and cotton. The trade triangle is complete.

The trade triangle 
Source: international slavery museum (ISM)

Life on board slave ships

Slave ships spent months traveling the atlantic, buying and selling their goods. The slaves were often poor in health, due to the mental and physical abuses they suffered. they were taken aboard, stripped naked and examined from head to toe by a surgeon or captain. Conditions were awful, as slaves were packed in under deck, legs shackled in heavy irons. They were packed so close, they had to either crouch or lie down. Women and children were kept in separate storages, sometimes on deck, for a limited freedom. But this exposed them to physical and sexual abuse by the crew. The air under deck was hot and thin. the heat was oppressive, and slaves often suffered seasickness. In good weather, slaves were brought on deck, forced to excersice. The food was often rotten, and water was limited. those who resisted to eat were force fed. Those who died were hauled overboard.

Arriving in america

After a long journey with many deaths and diseases, the ships stopped in america. Slaved were washed, shaved and rubbed with palm oil to disguise the sores from the travel. The captains usually sold their cargo to plantations or to sellers, who sold them on auctions. When buyers received their slaves, they wanted to sever all bonds the slaves had before, by forcing them to adapt new working and living skills, or by learning a new language. For africans, who were weak from the long and painful travel, the brutality of this process was overwhelming. many committed suicide. The rest found ways to live which still preserved their dignity.

The american Civil war was about North and south america fighting about wether stopping slavery or not, years 1861-65


Slavery today:

In poor countries, Slavery is still common. In India, A million Children are working
in great Carpetworks to produce thousands of Cheap carpets. Millions of the poor
people in india are also working in rice fields, Brick kilns and such. In america, thousands
of women are trafficked to work in sex industries. In russia you will find millions of slaves.
Many children are enslaved in prostitution. In chinese coal mines, about 150 million illegal
immigrants are working.

Slavery in movies and books:
There have been made movies and books about slavery.
A recent movie named Django Unchained, Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, is a genre-movie about a Bounty hunting slave called Django.
More classic stories are: North and south,  A tv-series about the civil war.
Uncle toms cabin, about a freed slave, by Harriett Beecher Stowe
The companion of Huckleberry finn (in the book with the same name, By Mark Twain), Jim, a runaway slave.
Source: wikipedia

By Lukas Lantz

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