ACTIVITIES OF AFRICAN WOMEN DURING SLAVERY IN JAMAICA
The experience of the Atlantic Slave Trade was one of being outnumbered by men since roughly one African woman was carried across the Atlantic Sea for every two African men. Therefore when they arrived in the New World there was a shortage of women. For reasons unknown women have not remained a minority. However through Trevor Burnard's study of eighteenth-century Jamaican probate records found that on plantations, even during the period of the slave trade, there were relatively equal numbers of men and women for Europeans slave traders preferred to buy men. The captains of slave ships were mostly instructed to buy the highest proportion of men as they could, because they could be sold for more in the New World. In Jamaica, from the late seventeenth to the late eighteenth century in, fifty-two of enslaved people listed at probate were men who were more vulnerable to death and disease than African women. During times slavery times of slavery women were neglected to be seen as mothers. The slave owner’s preferred to buy new enslaved people from Africa rather than bear the costs of raising children. However raising children was a greater advantage because the children who were born into slavery would add to the labour force on the plantation and would increase their wealth. Black women often were struggling to balance their own health, their children’s welfare and the responsibilities that the plantations placed upon them. African women were unable to cope with all these responsibilities including having to raise their children which often became a conflict with the harsh and overbearing demands of the owners. Under these harsh conditions and circumstances it does not come as a shock that enslaved African women usually did not bear children and those who did, their offspring often died very young. It has also been stated that some women even murdered their children so that they would not be born in slavery...
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