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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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022050700045502
  • Published online: 01 March 2009
Abstract

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.

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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.

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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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