Mortality

The total number of enslaved Africans who boarded 44 slave ships, which would eventually be tried at the Havana Slave Trade Commission, was 13,998 individuals leaving 39 West African ports. Of the 42 registers of Liberated Africans available - since none exist for the María da Glória (400 survivors) and the Negrita (195 people) - only 10,391 people were recorded out of the initial total. The reason for this difference of 3,607 people is the death of 2,245 individuals during the trans-Atlantic crossing and trial proceedings, as well as upwards of 767 individuals whose captors evaded British authorities by escaping inland to Cuba with groups of enslaved Africans who never made it to trial. The most common causes of death included dysentary, small pox, cholera, dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and other diseases common on board slave ships.


The average time it took to cross the Atlantic until the date of sentence was 69 days - with the longest being 135 days and the shortest being 44 days. The average time it took to cross the Atlantic until the point of capture in the Caribbean was 47 days - with the longest voyage taking 84 days and the shortest voyage taking 31 days. The average trail length from the point of capture until the date of the sentence was 20 days with the longest period taking 96 days and the shortest period taking 5 days. There were also a group of 30 registers which included dates. In those cases, the production of registers took on average 9 days to make after the sentence - with the longest being dated 28 days after sentencing and the shortest the following day.


The overall mortality rate for this sample of people before registration trade was about 14.4 percent. Due to the type of documentation available, it is possible to know in most of these cases how many people died between the date the ship left West Africa and the date the British captured the ship in the Caribbean, in addition to the number of deaths during the trial, which is considered to be between the date of capture and the date of the sentence. Table 1 reflects the total number of deaths per ship between the data of departure in West Africa (if known) and the date of sentence. Table 2 reflects the total number of deaths between the West African departure and capture in the Caribbean, while Table 3 reflects the total number of deaths from the point of capture until the date of the sentence.


Table 1: Mortality Rate for the Individuals of the Registers of Liberated Africans of the Havana Slave Trade Commission between Date of African Departure and Date of Sentence, 1824-1841



Table 2: Mortality Rate for the Individuals of the Registers of Liberated Africans of the Havana Slave Trade Commission between Date of West African Departure and Date of Capture, 1824-1841



Table 3: Mortality Rate for the Individuals of the Registers of Liberated Africans of the Havana Slave Trade Commission between Date of Capture and Date of Sentence, 1824-1841