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“[M]anaged at first as if they were beasts”: The seasoning of enslaved Africans in eighteenth-century Jamaica

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Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Global Slavery
Issue number1
Volume6
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)11-30
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/01/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

How did British-American planters forcibly integrate newly purchased Africans into existing slave communities? This article answers that question by examining the “seasoning” of twenty-five enslaved people on Egypt, a mature sugar plantation in Jamaica's Westmoreland parish, in the mid-eighteenth century. Drawing on the diaries of overseer Thomas Thistlewood, it reveals that Jamaican whites seasoned Africans through a violent program that sought to brutally “tame” Africans to plantation life. Enslaved people fiercely resisted this process, but colonists developed effective strategies to overcome opposition. This article concludes that seasoning strategies were a key component of plantation management because they successfully transformed captive Africans into American slaves.