A German Barber-Sugeon in the Atalantic Slave Trade

A German Barber-Surgeon_Koslofsky

As he traveled across Germany and the Netherlands and sailed on Dutch and Brandenburg slave ships to the Caribbean and Africa from 1682 to 1696, the young German barber-surgeon Johann Peter Oettinger recorded his experiences in the detailed journal, discovered by Roberto Zaugg and Craig Koslofsky in a Berlin archive.  They found that Oettinger's observations of shipboard life, trade in Africa, the horrors of the Middle Passage, and the sale of enslaved captives in the Caribbean were more attentive than those of many of his contemporaries.  Translated here in full for the first time, A German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade recounts Oettinger's journeys across the Atlantic, his work as a surgeon, his role in the purchase and branding of enslaved Africans, aiding enslaved women in childbirth, the trading of sugar and cotton, and his experiences in France and the Netherlands.  Hist descriptions of Amsterdam, Curacao, St. Thomas, and Suriname, as well as his account of travels along the coast of West Africa, from Mauritania to Gabon, contain rare insights into all aspects of Europeans' burgeoning trade in African captives in the late seventeenth century.  This journeyman's eyewitness account of all three routes of the triangle trade is an invaluable resource for scholars of the early modern world on both side of the Atlantic.

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