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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in
the Americas

A slave's drum?

Height: 41 cm
Depth: 28cm


AOA SL 1368

A slave's drum?

From: Virginia, North America
Date: 18th century AD

Some Europeans brought slaves to the Americas, in order to become rich from their unpaid work. There was a huge trade in slaves who were bought in Africa, packed into ships and taken to North and South America. Many died in the ships, those who lived were forced into a hard life of work, sometimes on plantations.

Some Africans managed to bring objects with them, perhaps this drum was one of these - it is made of a wood found in Africa. It would have been used by its owner to play rhythms to remind them of home. This kind of drum is still used by African people in the country now called Ghana.