Slavery was brought about by Christopher Columbus. For instance, upon Columbus arrival in the Bahamas; he took several natives to Spain Bartolomé de Las Casas (Equiano, 1986). Throughout the 18th century, slave trade especially of the African was extensively spreading, and at the same time, the abolitionism was also substantially taking form. Few blacks were involved in the Britain’s anti-slavery movement such as Olaudah Equiano. In his writing, Olaudah Equiano clearly depicted the many horrors and torture of his captivity and enslavement in the West Indies. The essay seeks to understand the brutality that the slaves both native and African were forced to go through as evident in the writings of Olaudah Equiano and Bartolome' de las Casas.
The horrors that slave’s experiences began at the moment they were captured. For instance, according to Equiano, he was seized together with his sister surprisingly, bound together then directed to the unknown destination. According to Equiano & Cock1815), the capturing process was itself very traumatizing for the slaves for instance even after they were unbound; they were not able to take any food. The slaves were then carried on board and moved to the foreign country leaving behind their families. Separation from family members was the most painful experience that the slaves were forced to experience. For instance, Olaudah was separated from his sister whom they grew together and was forced to undergo the life as a slave. According to Bartolome, the slaves were ill-treated by fellow Christians and further killed on the ground to enrich themselves (Equiano, 1986). Once an individual was captured, he was taken in a far country where they would never meet their families, and this created an awkward situation that tortured the slaves emotionally.
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The other horrific aspect is the fact that among the slaves, individuality never existed because once captured, the slaves were given unique names by their owners for easy identification hence losing their identity. According to Equiano & Cock (1815), the majority of the slaves were forced to endure all the tragedies and tortures which made their situation even worse. Reports have shown that most of the slaves were not able to identify themselves with their origin since any links that connected them to their homeland was destroyed completely. They were forced to live a new life as strangers with no identity and personality.
The Spanish were reported to have increasingly overworked the Indians and at the same time offer them absolutely nothing to eat. It implied that the slaves had to work all day without food which is considered one of the most inhuman acts directed to any human being. It is clear that an individual cannot work better when hungry but the slaves were forced to work on an empty stomach which further weakened them. According to Equiano & Cock (1815), food and shelter are basic needs that every individual should be able to access, but the slaves were denied. Some of them died of hunger and harsh weather, but their owners did not care at all. These owners were just after benefiting themselves and increase their wealth using the slaves. To ensure that they accomplish their roles, they were further subjected to torture from their masters such as beating which left most of them with permanent injuries (de Las Casas, (n.y).
Another common experience that affected all the slaves was the case of communicable diseases that killed the majority of them since they could not access medicine and food. Lack of drugs and access to care led to increased number of deaths among them. Despite being sick, the slaves were forced to work in a harsh condition which worsened their situation, killing them instantly. Evidently, the native population died or lived worse than death. According to de Las Casas, the slaves were further split into groups just like cattle particularly among the Spaniards and then assigned a particular amount to be a slave. He went further stating that the Indians lived in the poor environment and treated as beasts (de Las Casas, (n.y).
In conclusion, the essay has critically analyzed the brutal treatment that was directed at the slaves both native and African as evident in the writings of Olaudah Equiano and Bartolome' de las Casas. Apparently, the slaves were treated unjustly and forced to experience horrific circumstances under their owners. They lacked the basic needs including, food, shelter, water and medicines which led to their early death. Therefore, as discussed above, the brutality directed to the slaves was most horrific in history which led to a greater number of them dying from hunger, torture and diseases.
de Las Casas, B.(ny). Apologetic History of the Indies. Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West , 35.
Equiano, O. (1986). The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, the African, Written by Himself. The Classic Slave Narratives.
Equiano, O., & Cock (1815). T , W. ( he Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Or Gustavus Vassa, the African . W. Cock; and sold by his agents throughout the kingdom.