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Modern Voices
Barry Unsworth on how slave traders kept control of the ship
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Q: How did traders keep control of the ship?
Barry Unsworth

A: There would be maybe 25 seamen and the ship's officers. There might have been a crew of 30. And these 30 had to control maybe 300 men -- black men and women, who were aware of being abducted, and who were desperate, and who were dangerous, because they were obviously waiting to seize any opportunity that was offered to rebel, to take over the ship, to kill the crew. And that did happen fairly frequently. The only way that this could be contained was by a system of fear. So they would have cannonade guns. They would have a constant brutalization, short of inflicting crippling damage, obviously, for obvious commercial reasons. And so it was, first of all, a regime of fear.
Barry Unsworth
"The Sacred Hunger"

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