Kofi - On the ship
Today when we were on top of the boat some of the men who sit near me suddenly attacked some of the white men. They started to fight and the white men won but not before some of the other men jumped into the water. I think they are gone. Then we got pushed back into the hole quickly and I got kicked, then the horrible screaming started and I covered my ears. Someone said they could see men hanging by their thumbs and I could hear the sound of the whip. I feel sick and want to go home.
Read about life on the ship for Okechukwu, Kwame and Oyeladun.
The captives rebel
It is estimated that a rebellion occurred once in every ten journeys. Most uprisings took place off the African coast, usually during food or exercise periods when captives were up on deck. They were rarely successful as the Africans had nowhere to go once they escaped.
An example of a successful rebellion was on the ship, 'Misericordia' in 1532. 109 slaves murdered almost all of the crew and took control of the ship. However, the Africans probably did not know how to sail the ship and she was almost certainly lost at sea.
While on board ship some captives tried less obvious ways to rebel that included putting talismans in the food and water supplies. It was hoped that these would poison the crew.
Rebellions were always punished, sometimes by death. In one case, on the 'Robert' in 1760, the rebels were whipped, hung by their thumbs, mutilated and forced to eat the heart and liver of a crewmember they had killed, all before they themselves were murdered.
Press reports of rebellions increased white people's fear of slaves and led to greater cruelty on board ship and at plantations.