User menu
Main menu

The Middle Passage - part 1

60 second histories

This video covers:  A slave describes his first encounter with a slave ship; the stench from the hold almost makes him vomit.

Watch over 300 EPIC 60 second history videos at

Supporting teachers and educators with film and lesson ideas.

Free to view
No one knew what was happening. One morning we were taken out of the fortress by our African guards and handed over to white men who had knives, guns and whips. They led us down to the harbour, walked us over a gangplank and onto a ship, the smell was terrible. As I stepped onto the deck I was immediately chained to another slave and forced to sit on the edge of a hatch which led down into the hold. I had to wait until the two slaves in front of me had gone down the steps, and as I sat there the stench from below hit me and I almost vomited, but before I could react we were forced down into the belly of the ship. The noise was strange, like a low moaning and then I saw in the dim light, hundreds of faces looking at me. I was taken to the front of the ship and then slid onto a platform of wood and chained to the deck, I could just about sit up but I couldn’t stand.
British Empire
African slave
Key words: 
Slave, slavery, Africa, ship, hold, chained, stench, deck, middle passage, British Empire, Empire, KS3, key stage 3, key stage 3 history, secondary, KS3 videos, KS3 clips, KS3 history, KS3 videos, KS3 history film, KS3 history clip, British Empire, Empire, Victorian Empire, Y7, Y8, Y9, Year 7, year 8, year 9, slave trade,