The Passage Of The Middle Passage Essay

1109 Words Dec 19th, 2014 null Page
The Middle Passage was a treacherous voyage for Africans headed toward their fate as slaves across the Atlantic Ocean. A journal kept by a crew member aboard the Dutch slaver, St. Jan, describes the voyage and the plight of the slaves in 1659. During the Dutch slavers first listed stop, the crew purchased tamarinds for their unwilling passengers. The purchase of the fruit suggests a concern over scurvy. Scurvy, a disease common among sailors and slaves while at sea, was fatal and could be prevented by access to food rich in Vitamin C. The journal later discusses the St. Jan’s supplies of food on the verge of running out. Despite attempts of ensuring there was enough food for the journey, provisions would become scarce or the ship could be sold bad products. The bad products would later create a health crisis onboard the St. Jan which would claim many lives. Scurvy was not the only disease concerning the St. Jan. The bloody flux, or dysentery, was a painful and fatal sickness. An outbreak of the bloody flux was blamed on the bad provisions. Not only did the slaves contract the bloody flux, but the ship’s surgeon died of the disease. The presence of the surgeon implies a concern over outbreaks and also suggests the prominence of illnesses on slave ships. This invisible threat was a major danger to slaves during the Middle Passage. Another danger came in the form of dehydration. The human cargo only had access to purchased water. The journal details an account when the St.…

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