Slavery in the Caribbean Essay

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The History of Slavery in the Caribbean The introduction of slavery to the Caribbean changed the region dramatically. The effects of slavery in the Caribbean had a much greater impact than in any other area in the world. The combination of sugar and slavery in the Caribbean led to a dramatic shift in the demographics of the Caribbean. When the Europeans came upon the Caribbean it was found to be profitable for agriculture. “The first French and English settlements were established in the early 1620s to grow tobacco” (Rogozinski, 68). It was not long before tobacco competition from North America would influence the controlling interest in the Caribbean to plant sugar instead. Sugar “became virtually the only crop on British islands, especially Barbados and Jamaica, and it was the dominant crop in French areas, including Martinique and Saint-Dominique” (Skidmore, 91). Sugar demanded far more labor than tobacco did. There were not enough workers in the Caribbean to meet the demand for sugar in both Europe and North America. “Colonial holdings in the Caribbean accounted for 80 to 90 percent of all the sugar consumed in eighteenth-century Europe” (Skidmore, 91). As a result the Europeans brought in African slaves to do the work. “The Europeans created a Triangular Trade System, by which Africans, West Africans in particular, were bought with goods from Europe and were sold to the West Indian Colonies for sugar” (suite101.com). Some of the nations involved in the slave trade in the Caribbean were the Dutch, English, French, Danish, and Spanish. From start to finish, sugar production was a complex undertaking. “A sugar plantation –‘a factory on a field’—thus combined agriculture and manufacturing” (Rogozinski, 132). “In a set sequence of steps, the slaves prepared and manured the soil, planted, weeded, harvested, crushed, cured,
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