A Summary of the Sugar Revolution
The French and English did not sit by a let Spain colonize the entire Caribbean. They to settled in some of the Caribbean islands which they colonized themselves. They also attacked Spanish colonies as well as Spanish ships, both legally and illegally.
By the mid 17th century Spain had now become a weakened colonial master.
The English Sugar enterprise began in Barbados in the early 1640s.
The competition from Virginia tobacco led to the Caribbean planters changing their focus to the production of sugar.
The high demand of sugar by the European countries also played a factor
The Dutch were very instrumental in bringing the production of sugar to the West Indies. They supplied the methods, as well as the labour.
Between 1643 and 1660 Barbados was transformed into a total sugar plantation economy.
- Lands which had previously been in small productive units were now pieces of larger plantations.
- The price of land skyrocketed
- Small farmers were forced out of business
- Large plantation owners were then able to control the islands affairs
- Sugar production needed a large labour force:
- White slaves/Indentured labourers from Europe were tried
African slaves were thought to be a better option
The combination of the sugar trade and the slave trade led to the triangular trade.
· Ships left Europe with cheap manufactured goods which were to be exchanged for slaves in Africa.
· The ships then left Africa and sailed to the Caribbean were they sold their slaves and bought sugar which was destined for Europe.
In order to successfully plant sugar, the following would be needed:
- · Large amounts of land
- · Large labour force
- · A sugar mill to extract juice from the matured canes
- · A factory to process the sugar
A typical 17th century plantation estate contained about 100 acres:
- · 40 acres were used to harvest cane
- · 40 acres would remain idle
- · 20 acres would be used for ground provision
Estate buildings would include the following:
- · Great House
- · Slave Quarters
- · A windmill
- · A boiling house
- · A still house- place where rum was distilled
- · A curing house- to cure the rum
For a successful plantation a planter would need:
- · At least 50 slaves
- · An overseer
- · A doctor
- · Livestock- horses, oxen
Slaves on the plantation:
- · Field Slaves
- · Artisans
- · Domestic slaves
- · Hired slaves
What were the main features of the sugar revolution in the Eastern Caribbean?
Why was African labour seen as a more effective for sugar production than European indentured labour?