18th Century Sugar Estate

1463 Words Dec 14th, 2012 6 Pages
When the newly arrived slave reached the plantations after his tedious journey from the auction or scramble, this is what would meet his or her eyes, a large sprawling plantation with different buildings and crops.
The land was used for mainly three purposes:
1. Agriculture: Canefields woodlands and provision grounds
2. Buildings: Factory, workshops and hospital/goal
3. Living Quarters: Great House, Overseer's house and slave huts
Canefields
Most of the land was used for the cultivation of the canes. Other colonies such as Jamaica had land that was not suitable for sugar cultivation but was used for other crops such as coffee.
Provision Grounds
These were small individual plots allotted to the field slaves to plant cash crops for their
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1. White employees
They occupied the managerial and supervisory positions on the estates. The highest in rank among them was the overseer or manager.
The overseers have quite a lot to do. Apart from the overall supervision of the estates activities they have to ensure that all the material, equipment and other necessities for the production process is right there on the plantation. For example- he has to see to it that the staves and horses are ordered in time, as well as flour and salt fish for the slaves, that the mills are in working order and that there is adequate machetes and hoes for the field slaves.
Other white employees include clerks, bookkeepers and so on. Their job is to keep an accurate record of the estates assets and equipment. They record the number of hogsheads made, the number of carts/wains in stock and so on. We use the word employee because they get paid.
2. The slaves
This was undisputedly the largest percentage of the labour force. They did not receive wages for their work. There were two types of slaves: African slaves and Creole slaves but for the purposes of work, the slaves were divided into three main groups:
A. Domestic slaves
These were considered to be the crème de la crème of the slave population because they worked in the Great House and received favors and rewards from its occupants. For example, ‘hand me down' clothes and left over food. The mere

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