The Importance of the Slave Trade to the Development of the Plantation Economies

1230 Words Nov 8th, 2005 5 Pages
Question: Examine the importance of the slave trade to the development of the plantation economies. The slave trade was vital to the development of plantation economies, which could only expand and survive in the West Indies with the use of slave labour. The slave trade brought enslaved Africans from Africa to colonies in the West Indies, which had begun to take part in the "sugar Revolution" starting in 1640. The plantation system which essentially is the organization of agriculture on a large scale usually producing a single crop such as sugar, coffee, cocoa and tobacco, small farmers were pushed out and a few large plantation rose up to take their place and the combination of these large plantations formed the plantation economies so …show more content…
So it was the plentiful supply of enslaved African labour provided by the salve trade that allowed for the development of the plantation economy. Of this process of the plantation economies turning to the slave trade for the supply of African labour Eric Williams writes in Capitalism and Slavery "Slavery in the Caribbean has been too narrowly identified with the Negro. A racial twist has thereby been given to what is basically an economic phenomenon." Another major question to be dealt with in dealing with the importance of the slave trade to the development of plantation economies is how strong was the like between the slave trade and the development of plantation economies, Eric Williams in his book Capitalism and Slavery argues that in the production of crops such as sugar and cocoa with the use of slave labour, when producing in large units such as a plantation the cost of production goes down. So by this argument slavery is a necessity for the maximization of profits in the plantation system and as has been previously shown Indian slavery ended in failure and whites could not be enslaved so therefore that left only Africa with its large population and close proximity so the slave trade became a necessity to bring African slaves without which maximum profit could not be achieved Williams quotes Merivale as writing "slavery was an economic institution of the first importance." An example of this what ids
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