Cape Coast Castle, Door of No Return (2)
This was the door leading to the slave ships. When a slave walked through this door he was leaving his African homeland forever. (click image for enlarged view and more information)
When the ships arrived at Cape Coast Castle, the slaves would be chained and taken through the 'door of no return' leading to the waterfront. The slaves had little idea what would happen to them; some believed that they were being transported to another land where they would be eaten by the white men. Many of them (10-15%, or more) would die of infections or illness during the sea voyage, which typically lasted five to eight weeks with good winds and calm seas, or sometimes up to three months with unfavorable weather. The men were packed into the ships' holds in very tight quarters with no toilet facilities, chained together, and infrequently would be allowed to come up to the top deck to get some air and exercise. The women were often allowed more freedom to move about the ship, where they were subjected to sexual abuse by the crew.