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The Middle Passage

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Chapter Summary

Once a suitable sized cargo of slaves, provisions and trade goods had been assembled the ships were ready to be dispatched from Africa. In Luanda the slaves were assembled in the church or plaza on the day before departure, when they were given Christian names and baptised. In the late sixteenth century Francesco Carletti, observed that on the Middle Passage from the Guinea Coast slaves were fed millet cooked in water and flavored with oil and salt and, on other occasions, beans. Since it is unlikely that the hernias developed during the Middle Passage when the slaves were kept in confined conditions and not forced to work, they must have been acquired in Africa. Finally, the chapter suggests that mortality on the Middle Passage from Upper Guinea to Cartagena in the early seventeenth century may have been between 10 and 15 percent.

Keywords: Cartagena; Francesco Carletti; Middle Passage; Upper Guinea



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