Death rates on slave and other trips to America

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,536
I read that death rates on slave ships were about 22%. Death rates on ships carrying convicts and voluntary British and German indentured servants were also high, but maybe not that high? Does anyone know what the death rate for 1st and 2nd class passengers was, and for naval and merchant ships on similar voyages?
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,219
Kansas
I read that death rates on slave ships were about 22%. Death rates on ships carrying convicts and voluntary British and German indentured servants were also high, but maybe not that high? Does anyone know what the death rate for 1st and 2nd class passengers was, and for naval and merchant ships on similar voyages?
Not specific to the America, but I know that British convict ships had a change in payment policy. In the early days it was based on numbers shipped. But after a couple of nasty incidents in the early 1800's. It was changed to every convict that arrived alive.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,536
Not specific to the America, but I know that British convict ships had a change in payment policy. In the early days it was based on numbers shipped. But after a couple of nasty incidents in the early 1800's. It was changed to every convict that arrived alive.
It was a really long trip to Australia, although the technology was better than when convicts were sent to America.

I assume convicts were kept chained up like slaves were.

I know the death rate was high for steerage passengers who would be indentured servants. I assume it was less than for slaves.

There must have been a significant death rate for sailors and people with higher class tickets on similar voyages. I would guess that would be something like 3%.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,485
South of the barcodes
On the Darian expedition of 1698 during the outbound trip where all the colonists were well fed and in good health the fatality rate was 70 from 1200

For slave voyages to north America the figures i run into usually vary between 10 and 15% fatality rate, i usually say 12% to be approximate but obviously there individual Captains and voyages that can push rate way higher.
 
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Mar 2016
168
US
No matter the people who were enslaved it was inhumane. But particularly in colonial Americans travel was brutal. The slaves from Africa were not well feed and more than half didn't survive. Why? We may never really know. But I think probably fear of the unknown , depression and malnutrition. That's brings me to my other historical fact. The history taught about American slavery is inaccurate and impossible. Why do I say this? They say 12.5 million people were transported but trans alantic slave trade record provide different reality. The records say about 300000. Question? So where did the 4 million black people who were emacipated come from?

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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,536
. The slaves from Africa were not well feed and more than half didn't survive.
Where do you get one half from? That is way to high.


They say 12.5 million people were transported but trans alantic slave trade record provide different reality. The records say about 300000. Question? So where did the 4 million black people who were emacipated come from?

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
Only a small proportion of slaves were transported to what was now the US. Sugar plantations in Brazil and the Carribean imported large numbers, as the mortality rate was so high.

There were about 1 million slaves in the US in 1810 and 4 million in 1860. Some of that increase is due to the illegal African slave trade to Louisiana and Texas.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,936
Well, the thing about the slave ship death rates is that it was a set of commercial calculations about risk raking.

Easiest way to reduce it was to not pack the human cargo rather loosely. But that that would directly cap the potential profit of the voyage. Otoh packing tightly came with increased risks of loss of cargo from disease, which would then reduce the actual profit of the voyage. So slave ship captains had to strike a kind of balance between the two. The good ones, who managed on occasion managed to land the entire cargo alive, and make a killing at the auction block, tended to be celebrated for the achievement.