"The deck, that is the floor of their rooms, was so covered with the blood and mucus which had proceeded from them in consequence of the flux, that it resembled a slaughter-house. It is not in the power of the human imagination to picture a situation more dreadful or disgusting. Numbers of the slaves having fainted, they were carried upon deck where several of them died and the rest with great difficulty were restored. It had nearly proved fatal to me also." - Dr. Alexander Falconbridge, an 18th century British surgeon
The sail linked the continents of Africa and America, and thus it was also the sail that facilitated the greatest involuntary human migration of all time.
There can be no doubt that even though large numbers of indigenous Africans were liable, it was European ingenuity and greed that fundamentally drove the industrialization of the Transatlantic slave trade in response to massive new market demands created by their equally ruthless exploitation of the Americas.
In time, the Atlantic slave trade provided for the labor requirements of the emerging plantation economies of the New World. It was a specific, dedicated and industrial enterprise wherein huge profits were at stake. It existed without sentimentality, without history, and without tradition, and it was only outlawed once the advances of the industrial revolution had created alternative sources of energy for agricultural production.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors
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