The cause and effects of the Haitian Revolution have played, and continue to play, a major role in the history of the Caribbean. During the time of this rebellion, slavery was a large institution throughout the Caribbean. The success of the sugar and other plantations was based on the large slave labor forces. Without these forces, Saint Domingue, the island with the largest sugar production, and the rest of the Caribbean, would face the threat of losing a profitable industry. The Haitian Revolution did not just start and end in one day.
James Brewer Stewart. Holy Warriors: the Abolitionists and American Slavery. New York: Hill and Wang,1976. Henry Louis Gates.The Signifying Monkey. New York: Oxford University Press,1988.
During the period of 1640-1690 the expansion of the Caribbean “economy, was made possible by the expansion of the European colonisation over the Atlantic. However Africans were captured for slave trade to sustain the development of sugar industry, through slave labour to produce sugarcane.” (Grouchier & Walton, 1629: 418-420). The scramble for Africa brought about gender inequality within the African society, the European invasion in the Atlantic introduced some political conflicts regarding the demand for economic control and to take over the Atlantic. (Hornsby & Hermann, 2005: 127). Nevertheless sugar plantation was jointly supported by the cooperate finance and the state.
An annual amount of 10,000 slaves imported into Jamaica kept the sugar production stable (Nytimes.com). Sugar was the main igniter for the Jamaican culture and the way of life. For hundreds of years sugar was considered the most valuable crop to Jamaica. Britain made a fortune off the backs of slaves in Jamaica during their reign. Jamaica leads the world as the number one sugar producer of the time.
The British West Indies provided ideal conditions and climate for sugar growth. Richard Ligon, like many other English men during this time, saw sugar plantations as an opportunity for quick wealth. He owned part of a sugar plantation in Barbados in the late 1640’s before returning to England a few years later due to illness. Having experienced life on a sugar plantation from an English perspective, Ligon described the dominance of sugar production in those locations. As stated in his writings regarding his experiences, “this commodity, sugar, hath gotten so much that start of all the rest of those, that were held the staple commodities of the land, and so much overtopped them, as they were for the most part slighted and neglected…[The] work of sugar making…is now grown the sole of trade in this island” (The True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes, 1673).
Sugar production was very important during this time, both Brazil and Cuba proposed in this production. The two countries shared more similarities in terms of the production of agriculture and what they used the slaves for. They had more differences as far as the history of their slavery production. Five hundred years ago, the Portuguese established a sugar cane empire in a land surrounding the bay of saints. This region made the production easy because it was a very fertile growing ground for the sugar, the earth’s most profitable product at this time.
Prompt 2 – King Sugar Sugar, Caribbean’s most valuable commodity, sugar was the only thriving commodity and all of Europe wanted in on it. King sugar, ruled and revolutionized the economy in the Caribbean; bringing rise to mercantilism and then capitalism through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Sugar ruled the economy and brought profit; profit that led to competitors wanting land and the triangular trade; the increased production of sugar and African slaves. Old Europe was a monarchy. Following the order of “Estates of the Realm”; the board social orders of society, people were distinguished as three estate/social classes: the clergy, the nobility, and commoners.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. Introduction. The Classic Slave Narratives. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Penguin Group, 1987. ix-xviii. Graff, Harvey J.
Caribbean Slave Society and Economy. The New Press, New York. New York, N.Y. 1991. Benitez-Rojo, Antonio: "The Repeating Island" Duke University Press Cliff, Michelle: "Abeng" Plume Books Knight, Franklin W. The Caribbean, The Genesis Of a Fragmented Nationalism. Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y. 1990
Oxford University Press: New York, 1990. Lawson, Winston Arthur. Religion and Race: African and European Roots in Conflict- A Jamaican Testament. Peter Lang Publishing: New York, 1996. Morris, Mervyn.