Illustration from James Mursell Phillippo's 'Jamaica: It's Past and Present State.' It represents a room in the House of Correction and depicts the punishments suffered by the prisoners. To the left an inmate is tied up and is being lashed, and in the background a number of men and women are working the tread wheel. Their hands are tied to a pole and then the wheel is forced rounds at various speeds. If their feet slip from the wheel the men and women hang from the pole. In the foreground exhausted and injured inmates are being tended.
his is the text of an article entitled 'Reasons for using East India Sugar' published by the Peckham Ladies African and Anti Slavery Association. The Peckham Ladies encouraged their readers to boycott West Indian sugar since it had been produced by slave labour.
Extract from Sir William Young's 'Almanac for the island of Tobago in the year 1810.' Young was the Governor of the island from 1809 until his death in 1815. Here he has tabled the number of slaves in each parish for the years 1807 to 1809. From these figures it can be seen that the number of slaves on the island was slowly decreasing. In 1807 the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act had prohibited the transportation of slaves, which may account for this decrease. However, the act did nothing to improve the lot of the existing slave population who were to remain enslaved for nearly 30 more years.
This is a plan of a slave ship which transported enslaved Africans to the Caribbean. Traders knew that many of the Africans would die on the voyage and would therefore pack as many people as possible on to their ships - in total there were 609 enslaved men, women and children on board this ship. The conditions would have been appalling. Each person occupied a tiny space in the hold, - in this case they had to lie in spaces just 10 inches high and were often chained or shackled together in pairs, making movement even more difficult. The cramped conditions meant that there were high incidences of diseases such as smallpox, measles, scurvy and dysentery. Because of the long distances involved food and water was rationed and always in short supply or ran out completely. The only escape from the cramped positions were short periods of exercise on the deck, although this would only have occurred in good weather.
Between 1658 and 1808 (when the British abolished the slave trade on the high seas) 63 000 slaves were imported into Cape Town. Around 51.6% came from Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarenes, 25,9% came from India, Bengal and Sri Lanka, 22,7% came from the many islands of the Indonesian Archipelago, and just under 1% came from a range of countries including China, Japan, and Persia. From the late 1700s, Mozambique was the main source of slaves brought to the Cape, resulting in strong infusion of Nguni ancestry into the Coloured population
.Although the first slaves trickled into Cape Town from 1653 (Abraham van Batavia was the first slave in 1653), the Amersfoort arrived in Table bay with around 170 slaves on board in March 1658. They were survivours, of 250 slaves seized from a Portuguese slaver ship en route to Brazil. The ship had 500 slaves on board, most of whom were children from Angola. In May 1658 a further 228 slaves from Dahomey in West Africa arrived on board the Hassalt. After these initial West African slaves were brought to the Cape the Dutch East India Company fell into line with agreements with the Dutch West Indian Company to focus its slaving operations on the African territories on Indian Ocean coast and East Indies.
In addition to the dedicated Cape based slaver ships, other slaver ships of many nationalities anchored in the Cape with â€˜cargoes` destined for Europe and the Americas. Some from amongst this â€˜cargo` were sold in the Cape. Those in the forefront of the slave trade included the Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, French, Spanish, Arab â€˜merchants` and coastal African collaborators. Until their about-turn as a result of the movement of abolitionists, the British were also in the forefront of slavery and they were joined by Americans, Russians and others. As time went on it became quite a free-for-all and included pirates too. Pirates were particularly active around Madagascar with much slave running occurring between the island and the African mainland.
Slaves picking cotton
John Armfield and employees guarding a coffle of enslaved men and women being marched southwest. From George W. Featherstonhaugh
SLAVES BEING KILLED ON SHIP
SLAVES REVENGE ON WHITE MAN
BRANDING WITH HOT IRON OF A SLAVE'S BACK
SLAVES TIED NECK TO NECK ;GETTING WHIPPED
BEATING- AN OLD MAN- SLAVE
SLAVES WAITING FOR SALE
SLAVE WEDDING 1820
Spanish "gentlemen" selecting slaves in Cuba, 1837.