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THE SLAVE SHIP: A HUMAN HISTORY.
ETHICS IN WAR
CITY AND STATE
The Means the Captains and Merchants took to instill order on their vessel
Rediker opens the book with a heart retching story of a woman who was being matched through death across the African continent on her way to bondage and slavery. “Expropriated from her Native land, the woman was forced aboard a slave ship to be transported to a new work of work and exploitation, where she would likely produce sugar, tobacco, or rice and make her owner wealthy. This book follows her and others like her, onto the tall ships, those strange and powerful European machines that made it all possible.” Rediker completely tells this story including the history of slavery amongst the Africans themselves, the capture and inhuman treatment of slaves by their captors and their subsequent sell into captivity by the white men. He shows how the white men misused the black men to trap and capture their own and sell them into slavery. Africans from West Africa were considered most valuable for their prowess in farming, fishing and even as warriors apart from that they were good workers in the plantations. They were thus considered the “Black gold” in the slave trade.
Elaborating on the impact it made on the economy
Marcus Rediker discusses in detail how the ships were built in Europe and their impact on the conduction of business in the Triangle. He provides explanations on how the ships would retrofit in every journey through making room for weapons in transit from Europe to Africa before reconfiguring to make room for a cargo of human slaves in transit to America. Slave trade necessitated advance in the business of ship building. The ships were later remodeled with “copper sheathed hulls to protect them against boring tropical worms known as shipworms.” Rediker in effect believes that slave trade greatly impacted cooperation amongst rival nations, expansion of capitalism and industrial globalization. He thus narrates how slave trade developed amongst Africans themselves before the white men came and made it even more profitable. The slave ship underwent various transformations to become both “factory and a prison, and in this combination lay its genius and its horror”. He adds that the ship became a place for foreigners to relax as they went about doing their business.
Rediker narrates disturbing details of how a crew member was flogged for a minor offence depicting the means that the captains and merchants took to instill order on their vessel. A characteristic crew was made up of “a captain, a first and second mate, a doctor, a carpenter, a boatswain, a gunner (or armorer), often a cooper (barrel maker), a cook, ten to twelve seamen, a handful of landsmen, and one or two ship’s boys”. The author recalls the outright mu.............
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