Original Research Paper written by rootsnwingz 3 years ago on the historical significance of mutiny during the slave trade. Many thanks to my professor, classmates and the librarians who helped me with my research.
Mutiny Aboard the Slave Ships in the 18th century:
Implications for the Transatlantic Slave Trade
“The trade of slaves is in a more peculiar manner the business of kings, rich men, and prime merchants, exclusive of the inferior sort of Blacks.”
– John Barbot, European Slave Trader (1682)
The present research paper primarily deals with the phenomenon of resistance onboard ships by Africans against their enslavement during what is commonly referred to as the “Middle Passage”, i.e. the voyage across the Atlantic from the West Coast of Africa to the Americas. Insurrections of this kind flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries and had an undeniable impact on numerous aspects of the slave trade, including the slave traders themselves, who were forced to adapt to these new conditions of the transatlantic slave trade.
Therefore, I will make use of primary accounts of mutiny aboard the slave ships from the 18th century with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of its impact on the slave trade. In short, I intend to argue that the slave traders generally considered mutiny as merely a financial setback and thus the adoption of measures to prevent or restrain insurrections became a priority for the management and organization of slave ships. The ultimate point this paper hopes to make is that mutiny had a real effect on the slave trade, in the sense that it made the business of trading slaves more costly and risky for the European traders, which consequently reduced shipments to the New World. Continue reading