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    Slavery - 1784-86 Ship's Log for Slave Vessels out of Newport, Rhode Island during the Triangle Trade. The document is a 68-page log for voyages in December 1784, July 1786, June 1787, and February to April 1789. The voyages were complete, although the logs themselves are not. A record for the ships Louis, Louisa Ware, Betsey Ware, and Calsey, all under different masters. These ships sailed from Newport, Rhode Island to Africa to the West Indies. The ships were part of the Triangle Trade. Ships from Europe brought manufactured goods to Africa and the goods were traded for slaves. The slaves were brought back to the Americas and traded for raw materials: molasses, timber, and later, tobacco and cotton. The raw materials were then shipped to Europe where they would be processed into manufactured goods. It was called a Triangle Trade because it followed a triangular route between Africa, the Caribbean and North America, and Europe. Eventually the trading route also distributed Virginia tobacco, New England rum, and indigo and rice crops from South Carolina and Georgia.

    A majority of the journal details weather, latitude, and speed. There are minimal references to slaves, but a more thorough reading may reveal more. The entries also place the boats in the areas of trade. "...on bord [sic] of the good ship called the Louisa Ware of is Master Robert Champling...Dep. From the Latt of 14:27 and Long of 17:20 bound round the shores of Grandey for Cape mount so God send the good ships in safely... A jurnel or a log by Gods permishon on bord of good ship called the Louisa. Robert Champling master bound from the coast of Afraica towards the West Indes begun Dec. the 28, 1786... A jurnel or a log by Gods permishon on bord of the good ship called the Louisa. Rob't Champling master bound from the island of St. Tomas towards the West Indes Monday, January the 25th 1789 at 8 of pm track my dep't from the island of St Thomas baring SSE Drift... Thursday, February 8, 1787...New Obj for this day one man slave died belonging to cargo being therein."

    The Middle Passage was the most famous route of the triangular trade. This voyage carried Africans across the Atlantic Ocean. Captains of slave ships were known as either "loose packers" or "tight packers," depending on how many slaves they housed in the space they had. However, most ships were "tight packers" (especially those in the 18th century), and life for the slaves on these ships was extremely uncomfortable. Slaves were taken from the holding forts, shackled together with leg-irons, and carried to the ships in the dugout canoes. Once they were aboard, they were branded to show who owned them and their clothes removed. Slaves were housed in the ships as if they were cargo. Men were kept in chains while women and children were allowed to go free. It was common for about a third of the number on a ship to die before they reached the Americas.


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    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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