Slave Trade of the Colonial Era

Millions of Africans were taken from their homes and placed on ships to foreign lands routinely till the American Revolution. Many perished and all suffered.

This is a map of the western hemispheres slave trade routes. No dates are given, but the map clearly labels that 430,000 slaves were imported to the United States and an estimated 9.2 million were taken to the Caribbean and Central and South America. I wonder why the majority of African slaves were taken to South america. I also am curious on to how many slaves were sent to Asia.

The image is titled “The Court of King Iddah”. In 1841 William Allen was sent on an expedition by “Her Majesty’s Government” to visit the River of Niger. This port on the river, Iddah, was a major trading area for slaves taken to the Niger Delta and the Bight of Biafra. Why are some faced away from the king? Was this only a gathering for men?

“Stekboko’s slaves carrying fuel and cutting rice” is an image from 1869, depicted in East Africa. Four men are seen in the foreground linked by a chain and are being watched. In the background, men work away at a rice field. It represents household slavery. Is the person standing watching a woman? Why is it titled Stekboko’s slaves, when I assume Stekboko is also African?

Originally in French, the title of this piece is “View of the island of St. Louis, Senegal, taken from the sea side”. René Claude Geoffroy de Villeneuve, the one who drew this image in the late 1780's, often illustrated on the spot during his residence in Africa. On the right shore, African houses are shown. What is the building in the middle.. possibly a fort? Are the ‘houses’ small huts or simple homes?

The artist of this image "Enslaved Africans in Hold of a Slave Ship", Johann Moritz Rugendas, was known for depicting his anti-slavery views. Men, women, and children are shown bending at the will of European sailors/guards. Looking closely, it's easy to spot that the women in the foreground are chained to the boat by a cuff link attached to their ankle. Why are the men yelling? Why is there a man in a bed?

Slave Auction, Richmond, Virginia, 1861. Shows a man and a woman holding her child standing on an auction block, with only white men present. Is a man holding a gun in case the slaves tried to run away? Why is there a man sitting in a chair?

"Slaves Working on a Plantation", 19th century. Men in the foreground are cutting sugar cane and behind them a woman is seeing tying the sugar cane into a bundle.  White overseers are present with a man whipping a  kneeling slave. Where exactly was this image taking place? Did women have the same manual labor men did?

"Sugar Plantation, San Jose de la Angosta, 1857" A steam engine sugar factory is shown in the background with people working in sugar fields in the foreground. The houses of the enslaved are in the upper right, so what are the large houses in the center? How many slaves would be working on a plantation like this?

A black nursemaid is shown with the grandchildren of Virginia's Governor Spotswood 1790-1800. "Black Nursemaid with White Children, Virginia" Is the boy holding a bird he hunted? Is the child interested in the bird or amazed at his brothers talent?

Comment Stream