Slave Trade Explored in This Week’s LiveAuctionTalk.com Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller. Her weekly column is the online home for interesting and reliable information about the world of antiques. Sign up for a free weekly subscription.
News-Antique.com - May 24,2010 - Endless waves. Storms. Cramped quarters. Poor diet. The journey to the New World on 18th century slave ships was anything but easy. Compartments on board many ships were small--built for barrels not humans.
Between the 17th and the 19th centuries slave ships grew in size from 100 to 300 tons--the bigger the ship, the bigger the payoff. Rigged for speed, most vessels carried between 200-300 captives.
Deck plans for the slave ship “Brookes” built in Liverpool in 1781 revealed that each male captive was given less than a 6-foot by 16 inch area to move around. The vessel packed in 450 slaves. It measured 297 tons with main, lower, quarter, and half-decks, a cabin, gun room, gratings, and slave compartments for men, boys, and women.
Age, health, endurance and an ability to produce children determined how much each would ultimately fetch on the block. Purchased in Africa for $25, slaves were sold in the Americas for about $125.
All slaves shared one thing in common. They were someone else’s property. They were sent to the south to make farms profitable and there was no money in idle slaves.
On Feb. 25, Swann Auction Galleries, New York, featured a selection of slave era items in its Printed & Manuscript African Americana auction. A number of early slave ship diagrams were offered for sale in the auction.
The Brooks (Brookes) slave ship diagram; as seen in cutaway diagram from Thomas Clarkson’s “History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the Slave Trade”, London; 1808; sold.
Read the entire article at http://www.LiveAuctionTalk.com