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Annwareen Ramdin

Caribbean History
Professor Edwards
Assignment 11
July 10, 2011

1. During the slave trade most slaves were sent to the continent of South America and the
majorities were sent to the country of Brazil.
2. The middle passage was the route used to transport blacks to the Americas by slave ships.
It became known as the Middle Passage because it was the middle leg of the Triangular
Trade used by the European traders. The African slaves were viewed as cargo by the
traders and were packed into the ships with no regard to their basic human rights. Slave
ships could be either 'tight pack' or 'loose pack'. A 'tight pack' could hold many more
slaves than the 'loose pack' because the amount of space allocated to each slave was
considerably less, but more slaves would die on route to the Americas. Many slaves
became seasick, developed diarrhea and contracted other diseases because of their
travelling conditions. Unable to move because they were chained into their positions by
shackles, the slave's deck became a putrid mass of human excretion. Slaves, who had
developed sores where their chains had rubbed their skin, had festering wounds often
with maggots eating away their flesh. Conditions on the slave ships were so bad that
many slaves decided they would prefer to die and tried to starve themselves by refusing
to eat or by jumping overboard. However, slaves that would not eat were whipped or
force fed and the traders and ship owners began fixing nets to the sides of the boat so that
the slaves could not jump overboard. Slaves had no choice but to endure the horrific
conditions. Suicide was the only option for the Africans.
3. Field Workers
A field slave was not an easy task. A field slave worked from sunrise to sunset. A field
slave was out in the field when the first sign of light shone until it was too dark to see.
Women field workers worked the same hours as men. Pregnant women were expected to
work until the child was born, and after the child's birth the woman worked in the field
with the child on her back. The field slaves were driven all day long by a white overseer
with a whip. At about the age of twelve a child's work became almost the same as an
adult's. Slaves got Sundays off . A field worker's day was filled with hard work.
House Slaves
Most house slaves were living under better conditions than field workers. However,
house slaves did not get Sunday off and usually attended church with the master and
mistress and carried their personal belongings. House slaves cleaned, cooked, served
meals, and took care of the children. Some house slaves lived in attics, closets, or corners
in the big house even if their families lived in the quarters. A cook's day was long and
hard. A cook got up early in the morning to cook breakfast, and the day ended with
cleaning up after dinner and gathering firewood for the next day. These slaves sometimes
stole food from the owner because they were not fed. A house slave had a better
opportunity to learn how to read and write. They often listened in on their owner's
conversations so they were able to warn field slaves of the owner auctioning certain
slaves and other important things. They also took care of the infants allowing the mistress
to do whatever she wanted. Although house slaves had more privileges, being a house
slave was not much, if any easier than being a field worker.
4. Caribbean slaves produced few children. The slave population fell each year. Few women
of childbearing years were imported into the islands because they needed able bodied
women. Overall, African slave dealers sold fewer women than men to European traders
because men were deemed stronger. When they did put women on sale, they generally
proffered only those who already were mature adults. After they arrived in the Caribbean,
a poor diet and the physical stress of sugar planting reduced fertility among both men and
women and also caused many stillbirths. West Indians retained the African custom of
prolonged breast-feeding, which also reduced fertility. Lack of opportunity may also have
prevented conception, since slave unions often were irregular and short-lived.