How did the African slavery impact the Caribbean region Introduction When the Europeans switched from tobacco to sugar cultivation, the plantation needed more lands and more labour. The labour present came from the Tainos, whose population decreased from abuse, and could not meet the labour demands. The Europeans brought free labourers from Europe, but they could not be forced to work under the conditions demanded by the encomenderos. The church suggested the use of enslaving Africans to replace the fast dying Taino population.
The Africans faced tremendous abuse. They were captured in tribal wars or raids on villages. The conditions of the middle passage were deplorable. On arrival in the West Indies the African were in inhumane state both physically and mentally. The healthier looking slaves were cleaned and sold, the rejects were left to survive on their own. On the plantation they were allowed one day off, they had little to eat and they did not have many clothes to wear. They were beaten with whips for punishment, which caused the slaves to revolt against the whites.
The Caribbean had both negative and positive impact as a result of African slavery. Negatively it causes discrimination between races, the revolt cause damage to buildings and many lives were lost. Some Europeans did not agree with African slavery, and there were anti-slavery groups Quakers and the Clapham Sect and humanitarians were also involved. The positive impact; The Africans brought their religion, agriculture and culture to the Caribbean. Chapter 1 In the 16th century, tobacco cultivation was the chief crop in the Caribbean dominating the European market.
Tobacco prices were declining in the Caribbean, as a result of competition from Virginia tobacco. By 1627, Virginia was able to ship nearly 00 000 lbs of tobacco to Europe in one year while in 1628 St Kitts and Barbados were only 100 000 lbs. Virginia had the advantage of size and quality. The demand for West Indian’s tobacco fell, and the output was not so rapid. The quality was also inferior, so prices fell and small farmers went out of business. In Europe, there was a rising demand for sugar, coffee and tea, with popularity were increasing and they needed sugar as a sweetener for their drinks.
Sugar had to be grown in a tropical or sub-tropical climate and the West Indian islands were favorably situated for its growth. A transatlantic voyage made the West Indies accessible to the European market. Sugar had more demands than tobacco; it required a larger estate and more capital which small planters of the Eastern Caribbean didn’t have. The change from tobacco to sugar caused a labour problem. Sugar cultivation and manufacture needed a vast amount of unskilled, manual labour which could not be provided by indigenous Taino but they didn’t last long due to the ill treatments from the Europeans.
Many Taino were killed for sports. They were hunted by dogs and horses and some Spanish horsemen galloped at the Taino using their swords as lances to ee if they could run their swords through the body and out the other side. They would cut a Taino head off at one stroke and also dropped their babies over cliffs or drown them. Some of the Tainos committed suicide and practice infanticide. By the end of the 16th century, the Taino were a people of the past and thus the shortage of labourers for sugar cultivation. The settlers thought about bringing in indenture servants from Europe.
They brought them in large numbers, but these labourers were not able to work under the conditions and many died from diseases, under ourishment or ill treatment. Between 1520 and 1530, the church suggested the use of enslaving African to replace the fast dying Taino. The churches helped develop the racist argument that the Africans were not ‘native’ subjects of the crown, but were subject of the called ‘barbaric’ and ‘heathen’ kings. So the crown saw no moral or ethical reason why Africans shouldn’t be imported. African slavery was already used in Spanish society, so this system could very easily be extended to the Caribbean.
Africans were cheaper and the money which procured a white man’s service for ten ears could buy a Negro for life and Africans were available in huge numbers. West Africa was closer to the Caribbean than Europe and the ocean crossing between the two entities made easy by the trade winds which blew east to west. Africans were already accustomed to slavery in West Africa before the European’s intervened. Slavery was used for people who had debt, as a punishment for crime, for sacrifice purposes, and in certain forms of marriage, enemies taken as prisoners and sacrificed.
Africans were also accustomed to agricultural labour in a tropical climate. Chapter 2 The European stayed at the factories and forts while raiding was done by Africans from forest states like Oyo, Benin, Dahmey and Asante. Boys and men between the ages of sixteen and forty were sought. The women, children and the old people were left behind to do hard work. Those captured were marched to the coast, chained together by ankles and neck. The slaves were carried to quarters called barracoons where they were stripped naked and put into groups. The rejects were either too old or had venereal disease.
The healthier ones were branded on the chest with a red ot iron signifying the country which was buying the slave. The worst conditions the Africans faced were the Middle Passage. Mutinies, brutal treatments and suicides were common on slave ships than on other vessels and greater restriction. Roughly a ship of 100 tons could carry 100 slaves however the ratio changed a ship of 90 tons carried 390 slaves. Each slave was allowed five and a half feet in length by sixteen inches in breath. They were branded and chained two by two ,right leg and left leg, right hand and left hand.
The stench below deck was intolerable. Buckets of water ere thrown over the slaves as they lay to wash away the excrements. Slaves suffered from infections from lying in dirt. Some died or were thrown overboard. Ships sank or were lost in storms and slaves died. For example the George ship, lost 84 percent of the 594 slaves from the length of voyage and badness of weather. Slaves also rebelled, by commit suicide and taking over ships, killing the crew members and rates among slaves during the middle passage were extremely high.
After crossing the Atlantic, the slaves were in terrible conditions, both physically and mentally. They ere hardly in any condition to be sold. Before being offered for sale, they were cleaned up and inspected. Prices were set with the agreement of buyers then sold in the process of scrambling. The slaves were assembled in groups of males and females and at the firing of the gun buyers rushed on board in order to seize all they wanted. This terrified the slaves, causing some slaves to leap overboard in alarm.
Slaves who were not sold, either because of diseases or Just refused, were sold at public auction or abandoned to die on the waterfront. On the plantation slaves were given a regular schedule. They worked from 5 am- 8am,9am-12pm, and 1 pm- 6pm. They didn’t have much to wear and were beaten with whips for being slow, running away are disobeying the planters. The whites provided hospitals and doctors to check up on a regular basis, but slaves were affected by a range of diseases and infections, which European medicine was largely ineffective. Women healer provided cures using natural remedies which were unknown to the doctors.
While working on the plantation, slaves sang song to mock the masters. They were allowed Christmas off and (weekend in Jamaica). They sang, dance and played instruments or performed akes. Planter regarded their music as noisy and inferior. Years passed and the treatments of slaves were worst. Slaves rebelled to defeat the slave system by using various kinds of passive resistance: Slow working and malingering Pretending ignorance Deliberate carelessness Pretended to be ill Damaging and destroying the owner’s property, burning the mills and ripe cane.
Maiming and killing of livestock. There were a lot of slave revolts. This affected nearly all the islands and mainland territories. The revolts threaten the whole white community and also many slaves died or were punished. There was a spread of slave revolts throughout the Caribbean some examples are as follow: In Barbados, in 1816, sixty estate buildings were destroyed and canfields set on fire. However, slaves had to pay the consequences of their actions, and one hundred slaves were killed by soldiers while forty-four were executed.
In the Jamaica revolt in 1831, slaves destroyed property. Fifteen whites were killed however the troops arrived and some slaves surrendered, four hundred slaves were killed, one hundred were executed and another one hundred were flogged. In the 1823 revolt in Demerara, 30 000 slaves were involved, o violence was offered to any of the whites but rebels were hunted down by armed troops with much bloodshed. Over 100 slaves were killed or executed. Many were flogged or sentenced to hard labour in chains for life.
The revolt failed, because the authorities had superior arms and forces. Slaves had no military training and could not use firearm even if available. Chapter 3 African slavery has impacted the Caribbean Islands negatively. The Caribbean was affected socially and economically. slavery. Whites were free’ and blacks were ‘slaves’. Blacks were discriminated against and were treated inhumanly. After slavery, there was still discrimination among blacks example the Morant Bay rebellion where blacks wages were being cut and they starved and suffered from diseases.
People were classed by their colour skin, whites on top, to blacks at the bottom. Overall the social consequences of emigration on a scale were negative. Countries were deprived of their most progressive and ambitious people. Emigration also created an imbalance between the sexes. More men than women left behind, and it had a marked effect on the lives of children. By 1960, there were about 250 000 children in Britain. The care of children by grandparents, which had long been a feature of West Indian life increasing accordingly.
Slave revolts cause an economic crisis to the Caribbean Islands. Slaves destroyed factories and plantation and it was expensive for the planters to replace the equipments and fix the damages. These also caused a decline in sugar production in the islands and a fall in export. After slave revolts it encourage anti- slavery groups e. g. Quakers, Clapham Sect, who defended slave and their rights as humans. The anti slave groups in British were made up of Christian and they focus n the religious aspect of why slavery was wrong in the eyes of God and the rights of man.
This further led Emancipation of slaves, now that slaves where free they were not prepared to go back to the plantation. Those who went back on the plantation were willing to work but had to be paid wages, because of lack of labour there were little production and poor quality of sugar and the price of sugar fell ,wages were cut and the sugar plantation was in an economic crisis. This cause many islands to change from sugar to other alternative crop to survive from their crisis. African slavery has impacted the Caribbean region positively, Africans and Europeans brought their culture, religion and agriculture.
Some cultures of the culture left behind are: Burying of the navel string, when a child was born the placenta and navel strings were carefully disposed of. The mother had to guard it carefully and after three days to a year from the time of birth, must bury it in the ground and plant a young tree over the spot, which hence forth become the property of the child and is called is “navel string tree”. The African slaves brought their own music from West Africa. The drum rhythms were retained in the memories of slaves, although there was little opportunity to perform them and there were few proper instruments.
Evening and Sundays were the chief occasions for the slaves to recall their tribal musical traditions. The beats and rhythms of Africa proved more able to survive slavery than language and other tribal customs. Caribbean rhythms rely heavily on percussion instruments which are part of their African tradition examples are: Drums, Xylophones, Claves, Clappers, Rattles, Scrapes, Thumb pianos. However Europeans instruments such as guitar, larinet and saxophone. Of all the musical forms in the Caribbean, the calypso best illustrates the blending of African and European traditions. estivals of the British West Indian fell into one of the three categories. These were the carnivals that took place in the period leading up to lent, the ‘sport’ or Jonkonnu celebrations which took place around Christmas, and religious festivals that were introduced by Indian Indentured workers. Some slave learned enough broken English to be able to communicate with whites but retained to their original language. Some languages were Kweyol, which epresents a fusion of African and French. It is spoken in -the French Antilles (Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Dominica, and French Guiana in South America).
In the English colonies, a fusion of African and English led to patios. In the Dutch Antilles, the fusion of African and Dutch is called Papliemento. There are many types of religion found in the Caribbean after slavery. The Europeans brought their religions, the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and more. While the African brought their religion from Africa, the Shango found in Trinidad, Kumina and Pocomania found in Jamaica, Orisha, Spiritual Baptists and Obeah. The slaves continued their tradition of tilling their own provision grounds and some the crops were used as alternative crop for sugar.
They cultivated ackee, okra, blackeye peas, yam, millet and sorghum, which were grown in West African as well as edoes, coffee, cacao, plantains, spice, rice, bananas and potatoes. In the Caribbean many alternative crops are still present in the island sugar in Barbados, banana in St. Vincent and the grenadines, and spice in Grenade. African slaves’ ladies normally wrap the head with cloths wore long skirts or long ress, African enslaved and freed women used their fashion and style of dress as a symbol of resistance to slavery and accommodation to white culture in pre- and post- emancipation society.
This study has shown the reader that African slavery were better labour force to the sugar cultivation because they were cheaper ,they were already accustomed to the tropical climate permanent and in large amount and could be transported cheaply across the Atlantic. The conditions of the slaves were deplorable on the middle passage they were treated inhumanly in the middle passage and on the plantation. It also sought to show whites discriminated against the blacks, fed them little, over work them, separated them from their families and ill treated them.
The system of slavery changed the Caribbean region entirely. Slavery affected us negatively and positively. In the system of slavery many people loss their life fighting for freedom and equality, due to slavery people are standing up for their rights. Today slavery brought to the Caribbean different type of people, religions, culture, and agriculture. Slavery changed the Caribbean economically and socially.
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