Definition of barracoon in English:



  • An enclosure in which black slaves were confined for a limited period.

    • ‘Conditions for the African slaves during the Middle Passage are worse than theirs in the barracoons.’
    • ‘While they negotiated with the ships, they locked us up in big cages on the shore called barracoons.’
    • ‘These intermediary markets also used by agents of Europeans, who had barracoons in these markets, were fed by slaves from the north.’
    • ‘A signal was made from the vessel, and soon afterwards I saw a long line of slaves coming forth from behind a wood which concealed the barracoons where they had been confined.’
    • ‘Before slaving vessels ever left the barracoons of the African coast, Europeans closely inspected the bodies of captive Africans, even tasting their sweat for signs of illness.’


Mid 19th century: from Spanish barracón, from barraca ‘soldier's tent’ (see barracks).