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The Middle Passage - part 1

60 second histories
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This video covers:  A slave describes his first encounter with a slave ship; the stench from the hold almost makes him vomit.

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No one knew what was happening. One morning we were taken out of the fortress by our African guards and handed over to white men who had knives, guns and whips. They led us down to the harbour, walked us over a gangplank and onto a ship, the smell was terrible. As I stepped onto the deck I was immediately chained to another slave, and forced to sit on the edge of a hatch which led down into the hold. I had to wait until the two slaves in front of me had gone down the steps, and as I sat there the stench from below hit me and I almost vomited, but before I could react we were forced down into the belly of the ship. The noise was strange, like a low moaning and then I saw in the dim light, hundreds of faces looking at me. I was taken to the front of the ship and then slid onto a platform of wood and chained to the deck, I could just about sit up but I couldn’t stand.
Eras: 
British Empire
Topics: 
Trade
Slavery
Character: 
African slave
Key words: 
Slave, slavery, Africa, ship, hold, chained, stench, deck, middle passage