With new datasets and technology, we can reexamine the routes of slave ships in the Middle Passage. This study uses geographic information systems (GIS) to examine the routes of Dutch and British slave ships between 1750 and 1807. Higher slave mortality aboard Dutch ships in the Middle Passage clustered outside of the South Equatorial Current and near the doldrums (intertropical convergence zone). This suggests that the climatological conditions of the doldrums was, in part, a causal factor in slave mortality. Since the majority of Dutch slave voyages were already following the most efficient route (in the South Equatorial Current), slave mortality aboard Dutch ships did not experience a significant decline in the second half of the 18th Century. During this period British slave ship captains, however, shifted their routes to be more aligned with the currents and to spend less time in the doldrums. The results of this study suggest that the improved routes played a large role in the decline of slave mortality aboard British ships in the Middle Passage between 1750 and 1807.
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