Scale

“. . . between early 1859 and the summer of 1860,” about one hundred slavers set sail from New York.

Initially engaged in legal business in commodities like ivory and palm oil, ship owners and captains were lured by the tremendous profits to be gained in slaving. Investors were drawn from all quarters of New York and Brooklyn; two female investors netted astonishing profits of nearly $40,000 on their initial outlay. With a cost of only about $35,000, successful slavers could garner a half million dollars’ profit. And by paying only about one hundred dollars each for African men, women, and children who could be sold across the Atlantic for as much as $2,000 each, there is little wonder that the trade continued unabated . . . Some ships had nearly nine hundred people packed on board . . . in just the years 1859 and 1860, some fifty-three thousand African people were forcibly taken from West Africa to Cuba.

pp. 259 – 260, The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War, by Jonathan Daniel Wells

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