The Portuguese established trading stations in equatorial Africa. These trading stations financed slave hunts in the African West coast. After each trading station met its quota, the slaves were loaded in ships bound to the New World. The slaves were chained by groups. The women were not separated from the men. They were fed once every two days. Water was available but insufficient in quantity. After the ships loaded ‘the cargo’ in Cuba, they were then sold in plantations.
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In his narrative, Equiano wrote that slaves working outside plantations were treated cruelly. Most of them suffered severe punishments like the so-called ‘iron muzzle.’ Some slaves had their tongues cut so that they would not experience the punishment. Fear ruled the minds of slaves. Indeed, even Equiano thought that the eyes of paintings followed him – a sign of psychological condescending. In his narrative, Equiano admitted of attempting to wash his color.
The children were loaded in a special compartment of the ships. The infants were attached to their mothers while older children were cast into the ‘tunnel.’ Child slaves had little value in the plantations and even in private homes. Slave traders found it necessary to separate the children prior to the shipment. However, in Cuba, child slaves were preferred in private homes.
The slaves at St. John could only hope for a greener pasture in the New World, far from violence and cruelty. However, this was an empty dream because the New World was a cruel world – a wall which destroy the human soul and reinforce the ideals of slavery.See More on Slave, Trade