A Trip Across The Atlantic Ocean
African slaves in the 1500s faced a very rough life, which was caused by being traded, having to go on packed voyages, and working on farms or irrigation systems.
Around the 1500s, slaves were the most valuable and popular trading item. These slaves were either captives from Africa, or prisoners of war. The Europeans got their slaves from the African rulers. The rulers and the traders would take hold of these captives from the interiors of Africa and bring them to one of sixty coastal trading posts that the Europeans had built. This would cause raids and wars. Merchants, the poor, the royalty, anyone could be abducted and become a slave. Once captured, these forced slaves had to form lines, which was also known as a slave caravan, and walk a thousand miles to these posts. They were not fed much, so many did not even make it to the posts. There, slaves would be traded for needed materials like textiles, metalwork, cloth, rum, tobacco, weapons, and gunpowder to the people of the New World that needed slaves to work their crops. The alcohol had a negative affect on African society and the guns led to violence. Ships would be there waiting for the slaves to take them to the New World, or they would be put into dungeons to wait for a ship to arrive. The slaves would be packed into vessels below the ship decks, and sometimes shackled to one another. One vessel held hundreds of men, women, and children. People were piled on top of each other, there was no room to walk around or move much. Between the tightly crowded spaces, the heat, the spread of diseases, and brutal treatment from the Europeans, many did not survive these voyages. Others would jump over board, the sick were thrown overboard, and some even tried to gain control of the ship to take everyone back to Africa but failed. In this time period, almost two million slaves died throughout the voyages. The slaves that reached where they were going had to work on farms, estates, or large irrigation systems. They even worked on tobacco and sugar plantations. Life in the fields was hard, they were not fed and were treated beyond horribly. All of these problems led to a horrible life. Slaves faced such a hard life and the amount of them that did not make it is too big of a number.
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