Seasoning, or The Seasoning, is the term applied to the period of adjustment that was undertaken by African slaves and European immigrants following their first attack of tropical disease, during the colonisation of the Americas. Malaria was the chief adversary of colonists and slaves. Death rates dramatically differed between regions in the Americas. Those who survived were known as Seasoned, and for slaves, this would command a higher price. The term arose during the period when newly arrived slaves in American plantations died at varying but high rates. For instance, in Cuba, deaths in the single year were between 7 and 12 percent while the mortality rate reached as high as 33 percent in Jamaica.
The term has also been applied to a period of preparation that covered adjustment to new sociocultural, labor, and geographic environments. The goal was to erase the slaves' memories prior to slavery so that their history begins and ends with their usefulness to their owners. It usually involved an older slave breaking in new ones using approaches such as less severe forms of punishment (e.g. restriction on food). Other variations involved harsher and more physically forceful procedure. This is demonstrated in the case of slave owners who believed that adaptation must begin at the earliest stage with the immediate removal of the element of subjective resistance by instilling fear and breaking the slave's spirit.
- Mann, Charles (2011). 1493: How the Ecological Collision of Europe and the Americas Gave Rise to the Modern World. Granta Books.
- Kiple, Kenneth F. (2002). The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 65. ISBN 0521268745.
- Pinn, Anthony B. (2003). Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. pp. 35–36. ISBN 0800636015.
- Millet, Kitty (2017). The Victims of Slavery, Colonization and the Holocaust: A Comparative History of Persecution. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 9781472508263.
- Millet, Kitty (2017). The Victims of Slavery, Colonization and the Holocaust: A Comparative History of Persecution. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 9781472508263.
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