The Atlantic System and Africa

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The Atlantic System and Africa, 1550–1800

I0.Plantations in the West Indies
A0.Colonization Before 1650 * 10. Spanish settlers introduced sugar-cane cultivation into the West Indies shortly after 1500 but did not do much else toward the further development of the islands. After 1600 the French and English developed colonies based on tobacco cultivation. * 20. Tobacco consumption became popular in England in the early 1600s. Tobacco production in the West Indies was stimulated by two new developments: the formation of chartered companies and the availability of cheap labor in the form of European indentured servants. * 30. In the mid-1600s competition from milder Virginia tobacco and the expulsion of experienced
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* 50. Slaves frequently ran away and occasionally staged violent rebellions such as that led by a slave named Tacky in Jamaica in 1760. European planters sought to prevent rebellions by curtailing African cultural traditions, religions, and languages.
C0.Free Whites and Free Blacks * 10. In Saint Domingue there were three groups of free people: the wealthy “great whites,” the less-well-off “little whites,” and the free blacks. In the British colonies, where sugar almost completely dominated the economy, there were very few free small landholders, white or black. * 20. Only a very wealthy man could afford the capital to invest in the land, machinery, and slaves needed to establish a sugar plantation. West Indian planters were very wealthy and translated their wealth into political power, controlling the colonial assemblies and even gaining a number of seats in the British Parliament. * 30. Slave owners who fathered children by female slaves often gave both mother and child their freedom; over time, this practice (manumission) produced a significant free black population. Another source of free black population was runaway slaves, known in the Caribbean as maroons.

III0.Creating the Atlantic Economy
A0.Capitalism and Mercantilism * 10. The system of royal monopoly control of colonies and their trade as practiced by Spain and Portugal in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries proved to be inefficient and
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