Slavery in the Caribbean Effects on Culture Race and Labor Research Paper

Download this Research Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Research Paper:

Slavery in the Caribbean: Effects on Culture, Race and Labour

Origins of slavery

The Caribbean slavery began in the 16th and 17th century during the emergence of piracy. The basis for the modern Caribbean dates back to the slave trade and slavery. During the 16th century, outsiders settled in the Caribbean. This was a period characterised the European powers struggling for trade supremacy and the utilization of newly found resources. During the end of this century, sugar export emerged as a highly profitable trade as the cultivation of sugar developed into the main industry. The earnings from this trade were essential as they assisted in funding the Britain's and other European country's industrial revolution. Growing and producing sugar was not an easy task (Dowling, 2005).

This is since the plantations were large and needed to use the combination of agriculture and the sugar cane's mechanised processing. This meant that the semi-industrial process needed an intensive labour force. This was the main reason behind the massive expansion of the 17th and 18th century slave trade. The trade became popular and led to slavery in the Caribbean spreading its roots. The plantation owners decided to import people from the West Africa coastal regions as the native people were unsuitable for slavery in the Caribbean. This resulted to Africans forcefully becoming slaves and enduring torture in order to cope with the increasing slave demand (Dowling, 2005).

Promotion of slave trade

The emergence of piracy resulted to the promotion of the slave trade and sugar plantation. In order to promote the trade between American, European and Caribbean countries, the farm owners had to utilize a large workforce. This workforce was to cultivate a considerable amount of sugar cane along with other crops. The increase in the demand of sugar cane was proportional to the need for workforce. People began to understand the usefulness of resources in the Caribbean as more sugar and various relevant firms emerged. This resulted to the procumbent of labour force from outside. The main reason was that the indigenous people were unfit for slavery since they resented such an act. The promotion of the Caribbean slaver was due to the fact that the African natives were readily available and the possibility of assimilating in a new land (Engerman & Solow, 2004).

Treatment of slaves

Once the slaves arrived in the Caribbean island, they would be prepared for sale to the local buyers. The selling process would result to separation of children from their parents, and wives from their husbands. The plantation mainly relied on the imported slaves as it emerged into an agricultural factory that concentrated on an individual cost-effective crop for sale. The enslaved Africans had to engage in various laborious tasks that were all backbreaking. The fieldwork was exhausting since the labours would spend long hours in the sun, where the overseers supervised the. The overseers were quick to whip anyone they felt was not working properly. The tasks varied from planting cane, manuring, harvesting cane using bare hands, weeding and clearing land. The plantation relied on this workforce rather than on the family labour (Engerman & Solow, 2004).

II. Slave trading and sugar plantations

The beginning of sugar cane plantation in the 1640s, to St. Kitts along with its successive rapid growth resulted to the increase of a plantation economy. This economy only depended on imported labour from enslaved Africans. As a result, the plantation owners desperately sought after the Africans, who worked in unpleasant conditions of humidity and heat. These planters believed that the Africans were suitable for these conditions compared to their own citizens. This is since the climate was similar to the climate of the African's home in West Africa. These Africans were also cheap to maintain compared to the paid wage labourers and the European servants (Tomich, 2004).

Emergence of a slave society

The Caribbean island is a diverse area, which represents the effects of slavery, combination of much cultures and slavery. The arrival of the Europeans in the Caribbean has seen the island undergo a constant change. The loss of the indigenous people along with the plantation system introduction resulted to immediate and permanent repercussions to the island. The plantation system led to the development of a society that entailed a large enslaved, low class people and a powerful, rich upper class people. The plantation system became a success, and in order to progress, the plantation owners required more labour. The answer to the problem lay in slavery, which played a fundamental part in the way the economy influenced the island since the economic ingredient shifted. This slavery led to the emergence of a new social class of the free coloureds. This led to a confusing and later a separation between the slaves and the whites, which resulted to the end of the slave trade (Tomich, 2004).

Slave turnover ratio

Towards the end of the 17th century, the magnitude of the black population increased dramatically in the Caribbean due to the slave trade. When sugar took over from tobacco in the 1960s, the enslaved Africans resulted to only 20% of the Caribbean population. By the 1678 census, the population of the Black population had increased to 3849 against the white population of 3521 people. When the production of sugar established fully in the 18th century, the Blacks formed approximately 80% of the population. The plantation owners felt threatened by the vast increase in Black population due to this they treated the black population harshly. The plantation owners felt a need to control the large but potentially rebellious and discontented workforce (Dowling, 2005).

Degrading plantation system

The conditions were not friendly inside the plantation works especially the boiling house and the heat. In addition, the Blacks worked for long hours especially during the harvesting time. The rate of death increased in the plantations due to disease, overwork, work conditions, brutality and poor nutrition. The plantation owners preferred importing other new slaves to providing the existing slaves with conditions and means for survival. This resulted to the passing of the Amelioration Act in 1798, which required the plant owners to improve on the enslaved workers conditions (Kiple, 2002).

III. Treatment of slaves

Plant owners treated the enslaved workers harshly. The workers had to survive the harsh conditions that surrounded the journey from West Africa commonly known as the middle passage. The conditions led to the death of many slaves due to ill treatment and disease. Some even committed suicide through jumping into the sea (Kiple, 2002).

Horrors of slavery

The plantation factory was a technically sophisticated organism that made use of power technologies such as isolation, psychological despondency, surveillance, cultural alienation and physical abuse. All this was in an effort develop the economic production. The slave women would use their sexuality in order to acquire material rewards from the whites, fellow slaves and occasionally they would use it to gain their freedom. These sexual relations ranged sordid to violent sex. This physically and psychologically devastating sexual economy that surrounded the female plantation slaves depicts the incomparable circumstances required for survival (Beckles et al., 2000).

Hardships of slavery

Conditions, during the voyage, were intolerable as the slaves were wedged into a hull while chained together to stop revolts. Incase one of the enslaved person fell sick from smallpox or dysentery the traders would throw them overboard. The slaves that survived the voyage faced abuses on the plantations. Most of the plantation owners returned to Europe and left their farms under the care of overseers, who were often unsavoury. The slave families split up as the women men and children worked with little or no food. These slaves were diseased, undernourished, and this forced them to work during 'their' free time in order to cater for their needs (Beckles et al., 2000).

IV. Resistance Movements

The obeah religion movement

This religious sect also made up the resistance movements in the Caribbean anti-slave movements and the slave owners feared this movement. They acted as inspirational leaders during the slave rebellions; there influence had a great impact in Jamaica. They used the knowledge of herb as a tool for active resistance in the Caribbean and in America. Their knowledge of poison also helped in the anti-slavery movement against the slave master especially by women who poisoned their masters. This was a dreadful tool for resistance by the blacks both in Jamaica and in America resisting the oppression by their masters. Slave masters drafted laws forbidding the possession of articles believed to have the knowledge on drugs and use of herbs to make poison. This did not deter the people from the active resistance and on March 1, 1738, Jamaican maroons forced the whites to sign a treaty with the black slaves. This was the first step to end slavery in the Caribbean before it ended officially many decades later (Knight et al., 2007).

Civil Rights Movements and Women Resistance Movements

Civil rights movements made up by African-Americans who experienced the slavery rule also formed a strong resistance movement,…[continue]

Cite This Research Paper:

"Slavery In The Caribbean Effects On Culture Race And Labor" (2013, April 09) Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

"Slavery In The Caribbean Effects On Culture Race And Labor" 09 April 2013. Web.26 October. 2016. <>

"Slavery In The Caribbean Effects On Culture Race And Labor", 09 April 2013, Accessed.26 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Slavery in the Caribbean

    Caribbean Slavery Black slavery in the Antilles helped define Caribbean culture. Most people living in Haiti, Jamaica, and the smaller islands of the Caribbean are descended from these slaves, something that can't be said for most of the American south. To understand this culture requires a careful analysis of the sugar trade, colonial powers, and the nature of society in these colonies. Sugar cane became a profitable commodity in the Caribbean in

  • Barbados Culture Gender Roles and Working Life

    Barbados Culture Barbados was once called the Little England due to its landscape of rolling terrain, as well as its customs of tea drinking and cricket, the Anglican Church, parliamentary democracy and the conservatism of its rural culture. It has a well-developed airport, electrical supply and road system, especially after independence in 1966 when the tourist industry became the most important sector of the economy. Of course, it also inherited a

  • Black History

    Black History EFFECTS OF CAPITALISM ON BLACK ECONOMICS History of Slavery and Capitalism Capitalism Effects on Black Economics in the United States Capitalism Effects on Black Economics in Cuba BLACK HISTORY EFFECTS OF CAPITALISM ON BLACK ECONOMICS History of Slavery and Capitalism The ancient slave history besides the humanitarian aspect is considered a stigma on the so-called civilized society of the West. America's slave population was 33,000 in the 17th century, nearly three million in the 18th century.

  • Sociology Racism Throughout History Racism

    Both what make up a race and how one recognizes a racial difference is culturally determined. Whether two individuals consider themselves as of the same or of different races depends not on the degree of similarity of their genetic make up but on whether history, tradition, and personal training and experiences have brought them to think of themselves as belonging to the same group or to different groups (Spickard,

  • Female Identity Formation in New

    It is for this reason that one could reasonably argue that Precious' entire life, and particularly the trials and tribulations she must endure, including her violent family life, her poverty, and her illiteracy, all ultimately stem from her racial and ethnic background, because the pervasive, institutional racial inequalities that still exist in America served to structure her entire life. Even before she began she was already disadvantaged by being born

  • Territorial Expansion How Did the U S Acquire

    Territorial Expansion How did the U.S. acquire the territory in question? On the auspicious date of April 30, 1803, the United States of America bought eight hundred and twenty eight thousand square miles worth of land from the French government of Napoleon Bonaparte. Thomas Jefferson, the President of America, wanted to secure this deal. Wars were rampaging overseas in the continent of Europe and Napoleon had intentions to safeguard what he had acquired

  • Playwright Israel Zangwill Is United States of

    Playwright Israel Zangwill Is United States of America in the second decade of 21st century a melting pot -- the kind of melting pot that was envisaged by Israel Zangwill close to 104 years ago? The answer is an overwhelming no. Today more than ever there is no one idea of Americanness or American culture that is acceptable across the board. Most of this is attributable to the differences in the

Read Full Research Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved