Chocolate Islands is a book based on the exploration of colonial Portugal made by Joseph Burtt's on behalf of William Cadbury. At the time Cadbury was a Director of the renowned chocolate firm Cadbury Brothers Limited, a large concern was presented due to suggestions made that his company was being propped up by cocoa harvested from slaves. Author, Catherine Higgs concentrates on the role of Joseph Burtt, special envoy for William Cadbury, the Quaker chocolate magnate. She includes the findings of the existing scholarship on the great African labor scandals of the early twentieth century in her text.
Most importantly, on a wonderfully evocative account she utilizes Burtt’s journey creating a much larger story about competing British and Portuguese colonial interests in Africa that was fueled, by tensions over very different notions of “labor” and “slavery.”
Years prior to the First World…show more content… Higgs defends Cadbury against accusations of him moving too slow, by waiting until alternative supplies of smallholder cocoa were pouring out of the British colony of the Gold Coast but, at the same time she accepts that Quakers idealism was tempered by hard-headed business acumen.
Higgs portrays both Burtt’s later career, notably his investigations into the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, and the aftermath of the labor scandal on the cocoa islands. It took the Portuguese Republic of 1910 to enact effective reforms to eradicate slavery, and then still the new regime imposed forced labor across most of the colonial empire. The vital differentiation between slavery and forced labor does not come out clearly from Higgs’s discussion of the famous Ross Report of 1925. Moreover, she attributes the decline of cocoa output on São Tomé and Príncipe in part to swollen shoot