The Caribbean Sugar Trade In The Caribbean Slave Trade

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In the diet-centric world we live in, sugar and sugar byproducts are considered guilty pleasures at best, however, saccharum officinarum (as some botanists might call it) some hundred years ago was actually one of the most valuable commodities in the world. During the 1600’s, the bartering of sugar became one of the most profitable businesses in trade for the following three centuries. It contributed to a third of Europe’s economy, made tycoons out of plantation owners in the West Indies, but most notably, the sugar trade was also responsible for the expansion of the Atlantic Slave Trade, particularly in the Caribbean islands where many of the sugar plantations were situated. The idea that sugar could be an important commodity came about…show more content…
In fact, with the rise of consumerism,…show more content…
The sugar trade brought on a specific network of slavery called the Triangle Trade whereby slaves were transported to the Americas to work on plantations. From there, the fruits of their labor were sent to Europe to be sold and other commodities were brought to Africa and used in the purchase of more slaves. Between the 17th and 18th centuries nearly one million slaves were employed to the Caribbean to work on sugar farms with unforgiving living conditions. Slaves would often work from dawn till dusk in the sweltering heat, operating dangerous machinery, that their hands would often get stuck in for which overseers would often keep hatchets in hand to use for amputations. These conditions ultimately resulted in many escape attempts, usually into the undeveloped rural areas of the islands where they became refugees and formed their own independent settlements. Commissioners sent by the King of Denmark to investigate the slave network found that mortality among slaves was extremely high, contrary to their fertility rate, which was staggeringly low. The population of slaves in the Danish colonies was much too low to reproduce properly, which prompted the King to abolish the Danish slave trade and while it dwindled within other colonies in the West Indies, it slowed to a stop after more industrialized ways of producing sugar were

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