After the indigenous people of the Caribbean were terminated by the Spaniards the Europeans needed to find an alternative work force to mine their sugar plantations. The African were seen as the ideal supply of labourers. In Africa, slavery was not a new concept as it was already practiced so because of this the European deemed the Africans suitable for labour on the sugar plantations in the Caribbean. The enslaved people, men and women and children, were taken from their country and exposed to greater degree of slavery than that which they were familiar with. Once captured – these people of dark skin colour – were chained and then journeyed on foot to the coast where the slave forts were located (fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Slave march
These expeditions to the slave forts on the coast, where slaves were stored until it was time for the voyage to the Caribbean, may sometimes take months. Slave castles as they were commonly called, were forts in which the enslaved people were kept within the dungeons until their journey to the Caribbean and Americas.
Fig. 2. Cape Coast Castle
If there were not sufficient slaves to transport or if the ships were on other voyages the wait period at the slave castles were extended. Slavery for these people, men, women and child, were a horrific experience. Yet the enslaved women experiences of enslavement were different in during the voyages, in the seasoning camps, auctions and on the plantations.
During the voyages men were stacked as inanimate objects, chained together and stacked closely on the bottom decks. This storage method made it difficult for the slaves when it came to excretion, and so they were forced to excrete right where they were stored. As a result many slaves suffocated or/and were exposed to communicable diseases such as smallpox and yellow fever which resulted in many of the enslaved men’s death Women and children on the other hand were allowed on top deck and they were able to roam freely. According to this was how rebellion on the voyages was master minded by the women. This slight freedom that these women were given as it relates to storage had a negative outcome. Upon entrance on the slave ships both men are in nude form and were given canvas that was used to cover their lower bodies. Hence, the enslaved women were partly clothed and stored in an area which put them at the disposable of the crew’s men. One may ask, if these women were stored with even minimum freedom and with their children, why would they be shrieking? Due to the skin colour and inferiority associated the crew men sexually assaulted the enslaved African women on the voyages.
The [seasoning] which was the process that followed immediately after the voyages of the enslaved to the Caribbean, one of conditioning. This was the routine of getting the enslaved people ready for a life which was different from that which they were accustom to in Africa. The process endured for about six months to a year. This...