Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 22
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Solar, Peter M. and Rönnbäck, Klas 2015. Copper sheathing and the British slave trade. The Economic History Review, Vol. 68, Issue. 3, p. 806.

    Mustakeem, Sowande' 2011. “She must go overboard & shall go overboard”: Diseased bodies and the spectacle of murder at sea. Atlantic Studies, Vol. 8, Issue. 3, p. 301.

    Eltis, David Lewis, Frank D. and McIntyre, Kimberly 2010. Accounting for the Traffic in Africans: Transport Costs on Slaving Voyages. The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 70, Issue. 04, p. 940.

    Fenske, James 2010. THE CAUSAL HISTORY OF AFRICA: A RESPONSE TO HOPKINS. Economic History of Developing Regions, Vol. 25, Issue. 2, p. 177.

    Haggerty, Sheryllynne 2009. Risk and risk management in the Liverpool slave trade. Business History, Vol. 51, Issue. 6, p. 817.

    Logan, Trevon D. 2009. Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910. Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 46, Issue. 2, p. 169.

    Winter, Kari J. 2007. Jeffrey Brace in Barbados: Slavery, Interracial Relationships, and the Emergence of a Global Economy. Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Vol. 29, Issue. 2-3, p. 111.

    Dimsdale, Joel E. 2001. No More “Slavery Hypothesis” Yarns. Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 63, Issue. 2, p. 324.

    Haines, Robin McDonald, John and Shlomowitz, Ralph 2001. Mortality and Voyage Length in the Middle Passage Revisited. Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 38, Issue. 4, p. 503.

    Kaufman, Jay S. 2001. No More “Slavery Hypothesis” Yarns. Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 63, Issue. 2, p. 324.

    Behrendt, Stephen D. 1997. Crew mortality in the transatlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century. Slavery & Abolition, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 49.

    Klein, Herbert S. and Engerman, Stanley L. 1997. Long‐term trends in African mortality in the transatlantic slave trade. Slavery & Abolition, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 36.

    Eltis, David 1993. Labour and coercion in the English Atlantic world from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Slavery & Abolition, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 207.

    Curtin, P D 1992. The slavery hypothesis for hypertension among African Americans: the historical evidence.. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 82, Issue. 12, p. 1681.

    McDonald, John and Shlomowitz, Ralph 1990. Mortality on immigrant voyages to Australia in the 19th century. Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 27, Issue. 1, p. 84.

    Shlomowitz, Ralph 1990. Mortality and voyages of liberated Africans to the West Indies, 1841–1867. Slavery & Abolition, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 30.

    Eltis, David 1989. Fluctuations in Mortality in the Last Half Century of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Social Science History, Vol. 13, Issue. 03, p. 315.

    Kiple, Kenneth F. and Higgins, Brian T. 1989. Mortality Caused by Dehydration during the Middle Passage. Social Science History, Vol. 13, Issue. 04, p. 420.

    McDonald, John and Shlomowitz, Ralph 1989. Mortality on Convict Voyages to Australia, 1788–1868. Social Science History, Vol. 13, Issue. 03, p. 285.

    Cohn, Raymond L 1987. The determinants of individual immigrant mortality on sailing ships, 1836–1853. Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 24, Issue. 4, p. 371.


New Evidence on the Causes of Slave and Crew Mortality in the Atlantic Slave Trade

  • Richard H. Steckel (a1) and Richard A. Jensen (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

The journals of slave ship surgeons of the 1790s are used to address questions on the relative importance of African conditions versus those on ships, crowding, the effectiveness of Dolben's Act, and the interaction between slave and crew health. In contrast with previous work we find that most slaves who died did so near the middle of the voyage. Crowding was important to health and mortality, but the restrictions of Dolben's Act did little to reduce losses. The crew was largely isolated from patterns of disease among slaves.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Raymond L. Cohn and Richard A. Jensen , “The Determinants of Slave Mortality Rates in the Middle Passage,” Explorations in Economic History, 19 (Autumn1982), pp. 269–82.

Philip D. Curtin , “The White Man's Grave: Image and Reality,” Journal of British Studies, 1 (111961), pp. 94110;

H. M. Feinberg , “New Data on European Mortality in West Africa: The Dutch on the Gold Coast, 1719–1760,” Journal of African History, 15 (1974), pp. 357–71.

B. R. Mitchell , European Historical Statistics, 1750–1970 (New York, 1975). table B6, show that crude death rates in European populations of the late 1700s and early 1800s commonly fell in the interval of 20 to 30 per 1000.

Eugenia W. Herbert , “Smallpox Inoculation in Africa,” Journal of African History, 16 (1975), pp. 539–59.

Joseph C. Miller , “The Significance of Drought, Disease, and Famine in the Agriculturally Marginal Zones of West-Central Africa,” Journal of African History, 23 (1982), p. 23.

Kenneth F. Kiple and Virginia Himmelsteib King , Another Dimension to the Black Diaspora: Diet, Disease, and Racism (Cambridge, 1981) discusses African diseases.

Richard H. Steckel , “Slave Height Profiles from Coastwise Manifests,” Explorations in Economic History, 16 (101979), pp. 363–80;

Robert W. Fogel , Stanley L. Engerman , Roderick Floud ,, “Secular Changes in American and British Stature and Nutrition,” Journal of Inrerdisciplinary History, 14 (Autumn1983), pp. 445–81.

Myron M. Levine , “Bacillary Dysentery: Mechanisms and Treatment,” Medical Clinics of North America, 66 (May 1982), pp. 623–38.

Robert A. Margo and Richard H. Steckel , “The Heights of American Slaves: New Evidence on Slave Nutrition and Health,” Social Science History, 6 (Fall1982). pp. 516–38;

Robert S. Smith , “Compensating Wage Differentials and Public Policy: A Review,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 32 (April. 1979), pp. 339–52.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *