Visualizing the Middle Passage:The Brooks and the Reality of Ship Crowding in the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Radburn, Nicholas and Eltis, David (2019) Visualizing the Middle Passage:The Brooks and the Reality of Ship Crowding in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 49 (4). pp. 533-565. ISSN 0022-1953

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Abstract

Crowding on slave ships was much more severe than historians have recognized, worsening in the nineteenth century during the illegal phase of the traffic. An analysis of numerous illustrations of slave vessels created by then-contemporary artists, in conjunction with new data, demonstrates that the 1789 diagram of the British slave ship Brooks—the most iconic of these illustrations—fails to capture the degree to which enslaved people were crowded on the Brooks, as well as on most other British slaving vessels of the eighteenth century. Five other images of slave ships sailing under different national colors in different eras further reveal the realities of ship crowding in different periods. The most accurate representation of ship-board conditions in the eighteenth-century slave trade is in the paintings of the French slave ship Marie-Séraphique.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Additional Information:
This is a preprint, or manuscript version and that the article has been accepted for publication in Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1207
Subjects:
ID Code:
132157
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 Mar 2019 09:15
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 Sep 2020 05:10