Dehumanization Of Enslaved Africans In Jamaica

2389 words - 10 pages

The importation of slaves from Africa to Jamaica was the largest and most complex international business of the eighteenth century. This controversial exchange of enslaved persons provided economic stability within the Americas. Upon their arrival to Jamaica, the process of dehumanization initiated. Supporters of slavery proposed the institution served a two-fold purpose: one, in order to achieve complete dominance the institution a legacy of subjugation and legislation hampered rights to any slaves. Slaves were merely property of their Masters hegemonic influence. Yet, by defacto, records suggest that the slave-master relationship fostered some rights in which the master was constrained to respect. There was an incessant struggle between the slaves and the lack of public rights. In the start of the eighteenth century, Jamaica was abounded with sugar plantations. 40,000 slaves dwarfed in numbers the seven thousand British inhabitants of Jamaica (Higman p 35). The sugar production became more abundant from the start of the eighteenth century to the end of the century. Seventy sugar plantations grew to 680 from 1672 to 1780. The amount of British Jamaican inhabitants tripled to 21,000 and the amount of slaves reached heights of up to 600,000 in the eighteenth century (Brathwaite, p121). An annual amount of 10,000 slaves imported into Jamaica kept the sugar production stable (Nytimes.com). Sugar was the main igniter for the Jamaican culture and the way of life. For hundreds of years sugar was considered the most valuable crop to Jamaica. Britain made a fortune off the backs of slaves in Jamaica during their reign. Jamaica leads the world as the number one sugar producer of the time. The production of sugar was interlocked with the institution of slavery. Consequently, Jamaica, a colony, which heavily depended on the commodity of sugar, perpetually participated in the slave trade. In this paper, I will argue that the slaves in Jamaica, who survived the trans-Atlantic voyage known as the Middle passage, were treated inhumane, subject to dehumanization and physical abuse.
The dehumanization of enslaved people initiated during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Portuguese sailors voyaged down the Atlantic African coast in the mid fifteenth century in search of gold. The Portuguese found African slaves to be valuable thus starting the Trans Atlantic slave trade. The Trans Atlantic slave trade embarked over 12.5 million Africans for shipment to the Americas from the 16th century to the 19th century (slavevoyages.org). Slaves were ripped from their villages and made to wait at African ports for English ships. Traveling by foot in the hot African desert African slaves died, starved and were brutally beaten. At the ports, the slaves had to wait for long durations up to a year in some cases and some died of starvation. Over twenty million Africans were stolen from their villages and enslaved. Almost half of these slaves died on the way to the...

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