Slavery in the Caribbean Essay

Decent Essays

Slavery in the Caribbean

The beginning of slavery in the Caribbean can be traced back to the emergence of piracy in the 16th and 17th centuries. This eventually led to the promotion of slave trading and sugar plantations. While enslaved on the sugar plantations, slaves were treated very poorly. Plantation owners treated their slaves so poorly that most were undernourished and diseased. Slaves were even forced to work on their "spare" time to provide for their own needs. Needless to say, slaves encountered cruel punishment that we can’t even comprehend. The slaves however, continually resisted white supremacy causing much tension between the two social classes. Despite this, a new social class was emerging, the free coloureds. This …show more content…

In addition, slaves had to produce for themselves. Plantation owners were quite interested in reducing cost and they did so at the expense of many slaves. They overworked slaves tremendously and even made them produce their own foods to cut down on export expenditures. However, slaves had to do this in their own "free time" which was on Saturdays. Quite disgruntled, slaves had to work everyday, and on their day of rest, they were forced to work extra hard to produce for themselves. "The planters perceived it in their interests to spend as little money, time, or energy as possible on slave maintenance" (Tomich, 304).

Disease and malnutrition led to a declining slave population. Malnutrition played a crucial role in preventing slave societies from continuously getting bigger. Coming from Africa, most of these slaves were exposed to the tsetse fly and therefore, seldom did they eat meats. Milk was consequently excluded from their daily diets and this might be why there is much lactose intolerance among African descendants. This left slaves with minimal options in what they ate. In addition, "not only did food availability fluctuate seasonally, but slaves experienced long periods of hunger during and after hurricanes, droughts and war" (Beckles, 172). One can conclude that because they could only eat maize and a few other foods, slaves were deficient in the necessary vitamins and minerals. These deficiencies would in turn

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