One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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).
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