Slave ship

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Slavetrade2 blownup.jpg

The ships used in the Atlantic triangular trade , mostly briggs or schooners  , whose cargo holds were filled with slaves on their trade route from Africa to the European colonies in the New World , are commonly referred to as slave ships . For the most part, older ships were used in the slave trade , which were converted and equipped in the European ports of the slave-trading nations before starting their voyage in order to meet the requirements of such a voyage. As a result of the high stresses and strains of such a voyage and the risk of total loss through shipwreck, it was seldom worthwhile for the slave traders to use ships specially designed and built for the slave trade. Instead, they mostly took older merchant ships and converted them to suit the needs of slave travel.

Atlantic slave trade

In order to make a high profit from the transports, the owners of the slave ships moved tween decks into the ship's hull in order to be able to transport as many slaves as possible. This led to unsanitary conditions and, as a result, to an increased death rate . Since only the most resilient survived the transport, this also led to strong selection. Often the ships transported several hundred slaves who were chained to narrow mass beds. For example, the slave ship "Henrietta Marie" could carry up to 400 slaves in one passage, who were housed on two decks and spent the week-long passage chained on half a square meter. When the overloaded ships sank, they dragged the slaves down with them and into certain death.

Just a few decades after America was discovered, the Indian population of the Caribbean was so decimated by European diseases that it was a profitable business to let slave ships cross the Atlantic. The heyday of the slave ships on the Atlantic passage was in the 17th and 18th centuries, when large plantations ( sugar cane , cotton, etc.) emerged in South America and in the south of the English colonies of North America .

East African slave trade

The strongholds for the slave trade in the different centuries were Bandar-Abbas , Basra and Cairo . The slaves were transported by dhows . The transport by dhow took place in the Gulf region , Ottoman Empire , Persia and southern India .

middle Ages

As early as the Middle Ages, Khazarian and later Waragian slave ships sailed on the Dnieper .

List of slave ships

See also


  1. Das Schifftypenlexikon, Hoffmann and Campe, 1983, p. 234
  2. Human trafficking - A brief history of slavery - 476-1375: Beyond the desert - The whole documentary. Retrieved July 19, 2020 .
  3. Marko Martin: Human trafficking: How Islamic slave trade in India boomed . In: THE WORLD . January 23, 2013 ( [accessed July 19, 2020]).
  4. ^ Unidentified Young Man . 1839-1840. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  5. ^ Christian Frey: Shipwreck: The death ship of the slaves sank off Cape Town . In: THE WORLD . June 5, 2015 ( [accessed July 14, 2020]).
  6. Exclusive: 'Last American slave ship' discovered in Alabama. May 22, 2019, accessed on July 19, 2020 .


  • Jean Boudriot: Le navire négrier au XVIII siècle . Center de Documentation Historique de la Marine, Paris 1987.
  • Rodolphe Damon: Joseph Crassous de Médeuil. Marchand, officier de la Marine Royale et négrier . Edition Karthala, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-84586-439-6 .
  • Robert Harms: The slave ship. A journey into the world of the slave trade . Goldmann, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-442-15431-9 .
  • Heinrich Heine: The slave ship . poem
  • James Walvin: The Zong. A Massacre, the Law and the End of Slavery . Yale University Press, New Haven / London 2011. ISBN 978-0-300-12555-9 .
  • Michael Zeuske: The History of the Amistad. Slave trade and people smuggling in the Atlantic in the 19th century . Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam jun. ( ISBN 978-3-15-020267-8 ; 260 pages) [1] .

Web links

Commons : slave ship  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: slave ship  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations