Friday, February 22, 2008

Blieve it or Not

Found these while reading "The Slave Trade'. Thought they were questionable to some extent from all the other info on 'The Middle Passage', you will have to decide for yourselves.

The Portugese did try to better conditions on slave ships whether because of conscience or increasing profits is a matter of opinion. Early in the 16th Century King Manuel set rules for transporting slaves.

They are as follows:

1. All ships and cargos are to be Baptised.
2. Wooden beds are to be provided for the slaves.
3. A roof for protection from rain and cold.
4. Adequate supplies of food and water on board ship for the duration of the voyage.
5. Sticks to calm hunger pangs and clean the teeth.

A Swedish mineralogist named Wadstrom wrote in the 1790's "the Portugese slave ships are never over-crowded and the crews are chiefly 'Negros Ladines'* who speak thier language whose business it is to comfort and attend the poor slaves. The result is that little or no fetters are needed and this lowers the motality rate".

The Portugese in the 18th Century used a system to reduce the mortality rate of slaves during the 'Middle Passage'. Each sailor was allotted 15 slaves to his care. The crewman was paid a New Crown for every slave delivered alive that was in his vare at the end of the journey.

The Slave Trade - Hugh Thomas Pg.414

*slaves converted to Chrisianity and taught rudimentary Portugese vocabulary.

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