Slave ships spent several months travelling to different elements of the coast, buying their particular cargo. The captives ended up often in poor health and fitness from the physical in addition to mental abuse they received suffered. They were obtained on board, stripped bare and examined from head to toe by the captain or surgeon.
Conditions on board ship during the Heart Passage were appalling. The men were packed jointly below deck and ended up secured by leg golf irons. The space was consequently cramped they were required to crouch or sleep the night. Women and children were kept in separate sectors, sometimes on deck, letting them limited freedom of movement, but this also open them to violence in addition to sexual abuse from this crew.
The air in the hold was foul and putrid. Seasickness was common and the heat had been oppressive. The lack connected with sanitation and suffocating ailments meant there was a constant threat of disease. Occurences of fever, dysentery (the particular 'flux') and smallpox were being frequent. Captives endured these kind of conditions for about two months, sometimes longer.
In very good weather the captives had been brought on deck within midmorning and forced to exercise. They were fed twice a day and those refusing to eat had been force-fed. Those which died were thrown over the top.
The combination of disease, inadequate food, rebellion as well as punishment took a major toll on captives and crew alike. Surviving documents suggest that until this 1750s one in five Africans on board deliver died.
Some European authorities, such as the Uk and French, introduced laws to control conditions on board. They reduced the numbers of people allowed on mother board and required a physician to be carried. The main reason for taking action was concern for the actual crew and not the particular captives.
The surgeons, nevertheless often unqualified, were paid out head-money to keep captives alive. By with regards to 1800 records show that this number of Africans which died had declined to about one in 18.