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Lecture 3

Worlds of Childhood - Week 3 Reading Notes

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HUMA 1970
Krys Verrall

A Brief History of the CaribbeanBy Jan RogozinskiSugar Rules the IslandsAfter the end of the War of the Spanish Succession the economy especially the sugar industry in the Caribbean grew rapidlyThe NonSpanish Islands Give Themselves Wholly to SugarOn the British islands sugar became virtually the only cropThe French islands had a more diversified economyoSugar was still their main and most important productThe Danish Virgin Islands and the Dutch Leewards served as free ports selling slaves to the British and French islandsAs the sugar industry flourished sugar plantations also came to dominate Danish Saint CroixSugar plantations require large amounts of capitalEuropeans Consume More and More SugarthPrices of sugar generously rose until the 1820s especially the 18 centuryEuropeans increasingly drank tea coffee and cocoa and ate processed foods jams and candyPlanters in Barbados enjoyed profits of 40 to 50 percent a year 1650sBy 1661 a glut had formed in the European market and prices fell close to 70oRemain depressed until 1690s then it rose again and then they had another slump in the 1730sPlanters on the British islands did well during the war 1748 17561763Prices began to fall dramatically in the 1840s oEuropean governments subsidized the beet sugar industryoCuban production soaredoBritish Empire found new sources in AsiathThe Mercantilist System during the 18 CenturyFrench and British governments sought to make their colonies benefit the mother countryThey forbade islanders from importing and exporting goods that werent owned by their subjectsPlaced duties on any sugar imported from foreign countriesTaxed imports of semirefined sugar at a much higher rate than the raw productNeither government followed a totally consistent policy because they had to please many constituencies British government followed a high tax policy to increase their revenuesoHigh import duties on tropical productsSugar tobacco teaoBritish planters were restricted to making raw sugar but were guaranteed high pricesFrench government had a lower tax policy and focused on increasing its exportsoEmphasized sale of tropical products to other European countriesoEncourage commercial growthoFrench planters made a lot of clayed sugar so that meant they had a lot of extra molasses
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