Essay about The Impact Of Slavery On The Caribbean

Essay about The Impact Of Slavery On The Caribbean

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The Caribbean is often overlooked when the concept of slavery is discussed. However, the Caribbean islands played an integral part in the building of various countries’ economies around the world; primarily European countries. Many of the social stigmas that are associated with slavery are still present in various Caribbean countries’ societies today. Caribbean cultures have very strong African roots as of the numerous traditions carried from Africa by the slaves. This paper will give an overall view of slavery in the Caribbean and go more in depth into the economic, social, and cultural affects that it had and is still giving in the Caribbean using Haiti as a focal point.
In order to begin to understand the impact of slavery in the Caribbean, how and why must first be taken into context; how did millions of African people end up thousands of miles across a great ocean and for what reason. “Slaves have existed on every populated continent since well before the opening up of the Western Hemisphere to European colonization” (Slavery). Long before there was any form of slavery in the Americas, there was the enslavement and selling of Africans by other Africans. According to Stephen Behrendt, most of the people being enslaved were female who were bought in order to work as servants, agricultural laborers, or concubines. The Portuguese were able to trade directly with these slave suppliers by the mid 1400’s; “Europeans first shipped African slaves, along with gold and ivory” (Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean). There was a shift in slave distribution due the development of sugar plantation on the islands of Madeira and São Tomé located just off the coast off West Africa in the late 1400’s; this made it more likely for Europe...


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...g). There has been a melding of cultures. Even though it is difficult to definitively pin point the exact culture due the lack of accurate slave records by the ship captain and plantation owners, there are still many obvious parallels between Caribbean and African cultures. This includes the presence of the Senegalese Wolof culture in Haitian folktales, as well as Fon spirits in Haitian Vodou (Adderly).
However and gruesome it may be, slavery is a very important piece of global history. It was the building block for many economies. Its affects have survived hundreds of years in some countries. There are still remnants of the social effects of slavery felt in today’s society. All though slavery is often looked at as good or bad, black or white, there are many components of slavery that have contributed to the world’s development economically, socially, and culturally.

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