In What Ways Does the Term ‘Revolution’ Aptly Apply to the Sugar Revolution in the Caribbean? Essay

1736 WordsNov 17, 20147 Pages
In what ways does the term ‘revolution’ aptly apply to the Sugar Revolution in the Caribbean? INTRODUCTION In the early 17th century, the Caribbean region was in economic turmoil. Most of the islands were producers of tobacco and their economies were sustained on this crop. However,from about 1613 the islands began to experience competition from Virginia who started tobacco production. The plantations there had the benefit of bigger land resources and greater efficiency in production, enabling them to produce far greater quantities of the crop than most of the islands combined. Virginia was able to supply England with almost 500 000 lbs of tobacco annually by 1627 compared with the combined total of 100 000 lbs shipped by Barbados and St. Kitts in 1628. The grade of tobacco they produced was also far superior to the grade produced in the Caribbean, especially the variety grown in Barbados which was a very poor quality. England who was the main importer of tobacco began importing their supplies of tobacco from Virginia which was a tremendous blow to the economies of the Caribbean islands. Countries like Barbados tried diversifying by going into cotton and indigo production but there was a glut in the market so those efforts also failed to produce the necessary income that the island needed. The Caribbean needed a replacement crop and this proved to be sugar cane. The Dutch brought their knowledge of sugar cane cultivation and sugar production to the English speaking Caribbean. These wealthy Dutch merchants supplied the credit that the planters needed to finance their sugar cane production, the technology as well as access to markets for the export and sale of the crop. The demand for sugar as a sweetener in Europe, along with the increasing use of tea and coffee in that region as well as the suitability of the tropical climate of the Caribbean area to

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