The Voyages And The Sugar Industry On The Island Of Barbados

855 Words Mar 30th, 2016 4 Pages
In 1640, the British Caribbean island of Barbados was inhabited by a community of plantation farmers producing a variety of commodities (including tobacco, cotton, ginger, and indigo) and employing a workforce of predominately white indentured servants. By the 1660’s, the island’s commodity production had been nearly entirely switched over to the production of sugar, and the labor force converted to one mostly comprised of African slaves. This was one of the first instances of a large-scale black slave labor force in the British Americas and it was not until the 18th century that the mainland colonies followed Barbados’ lead. The two voyages for this essay, the British ships Elizabeth (1663) and Freke (1730) , will serve as an illustration of the slave market in Barbados during the prime of the sugar industry on the island. This essay will also compare the similarities and differences of the aforementioned voyages and discuss their respective journeys.
After both cotton and indigo prices fell suddenly on the London market in 1641, Barbadian plantation farmers began to experiment with growing sugar cane and it quickly gained momentum. This “primed the pump” for an outpouring of African slaves to the small island over the next century. The slave population in Barbados was the most crucial component of the island’s most profitable and largest industry: the sugar industry. Between 1650 and 1660, plantation farmers began replacing indentured servants with black slaves in…

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