A Barracoon at Key West
Barracoons were a common feature in the transatlantic slave trade, but particularly in the mid-nineteenth century when slaves could be held on the coast for long periods while slave ships looked for opportunities to evade patrolling naval cruisers. The word probably derived from the Portuguese ""Barracão"", which merely means warehouse, but when adopted by other languages the meaning became slave hold. The image is of an illustration of a barracoon at Key West, Florida, in 1860. This particular barracoon, however, did not store slaves. Rather, it served as a place to shelter liberated Africans from slave vessels captured at sea by American cruisers during the suppression of the transatlantic slave trade. The image is reproduced courtesy of Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library. Permission required to reproduce.