impacts of slavery in the caribbean

Topics: Caribbean, Atlantic slave trade, Slavery Pages: 7 (2584 words) Published: December 9, 2013

How did the African slavery impact the Caribbean region between1640-1985?

When the Europeans switched from tobacco to sugar cultivation, the plantation needed more lands and more labour. The labour present came from the Tainos, whose population decreased from abuse, and could not meet the labour demands. The Europeans brought free labourers from Europe, but they could not be forced to work under the conditions demanded by the encomenderos. The church suggested the use of enslaving Africans to replace the fast dying Taino population. The Africans faced tremendous abuse. They were captured in tribal wars or raids on villages. The conditions of the middle passage were deplorable. On arrival in the West Indies the African were in inhumane state both physically and mentally. The healthier looking slaves were cleaned and sold, the rejects were left to survive on their own. On the plantation they were allowed one day off, they had little to eat and they did not have many clothes to wear. They were beaten with whips for punishment, which caused the slaves to revolt against the whites.

The Caribbean had both negative and positive impact as a result of African slavery. Negatively it causes discrimination between races, the revolt cause damage to buildings and many lives were lost. Some Europeans did not agree with African slavery, and there were anti-slavery groups Quakers and the Clapham Sect and humanitarians were also involved. The positive impact; The Africans brought their religion, agriculture and culture to the Caribbean. Chapter 1

In the 16th century, tobacco cultivation was the chief crop in the Caribbean dominating the European market. Tobacco prices were declining in the Caribbean, as a result of competition from Virginia tobacco. By 1627, Virginia was able to ship nearly 500 000 lbs of tobacco to Europe in one year while in 1628 St Kitts and Barbados were only 100 000 lbs. Virginia had the advantage of size and quality. The demand for West Indian’s tobacco fell, and the output was not so rapid. The quality was also inferior, so prices fell and small farmers went out of business. In Europe, there was a rising demand for sugar, coffee and tea, with popularity were increasing and they needed sugar as a sweetener for their drinks. Sugar had to be grown in a tropical or sub-tropical climate and the West Indian islands were favorably situated for its growth. A transatlantic voyage made the West Indies accessible to the European market. Sugar had more demands than tobacco; it required a larger estate and more capital which small planters of the Eastern Caribbean didn’t have. The change from tobacco to sugar caused a labour problem. Sugar cultivation and manufacture needed a vast amount of unskilled, manual labour which could not be provided by the existing population. The labour present in the tobacco cultivation was the indigenous Taino but they didn’t last long due to the ill treatments from the Europeans. Many Taino were killed for sports. They were hunted by dogs and horses and some Spanish horsemen galloped at the Taino using their swords as lances to see if they could run their swords through the body and out the other side. They would cut a Taino head off at one stroke and also dropped their babies over cliffs or drown them. Some of the Tainos committed suicide and practice infanticide. By the end of the 16th century, the Taino were a people of the past and thus the shortage of labourers for sugar cultivation. The settlers thought about bringing in indenture servants from Europe. They brought them in large numbers, but these labourers were not able to work under the conditions and many died from diseases, under nourishment or ill treatment. Between 1520 and 1530, the church suggested the use of enslaving African to replace the fast dying Taino. The churches helped develop the racist argument that the Africans were not ‘native’ subjects of the crown, but were subject of the called...
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