What Was the Role of Slavery and Slave Rebellions in Jamaica’s Past?
What first comes across your mind when you think of the New World? Personally I think of the Caribbean and its flourishing coral islands with white shores, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 15th century and proclaimed Spanish colonies. Jamaica was one of those tropical islands in the Caribbean. After the years of severe struggle, England defeated Spain and won the island of Jamaica in 1655. Development of plantation system on Jamaica’s fertile lands required a great deal of manpower, and the Englishmen forced the Indian tribes to toil on the fields of sugar cane. Unfamiliar with hard toil and diseases, the Indians soon became extinct (Black, Clinton V. History of Jamaica).
That was the reason why the black slaves from Africa were brought to work on the sugar cane plantations. Jamaica’s largest towns, Port Royal and Kingston turned into the centers of slave trade. Slavery grew together with plantation system. By the end of the 18th century, the number of black slaves exceeded the number of white populace. Jamaica became one of the largest suppliers of sugar cane in the world. But brutal attitude, severe punishments and hard toil influenced black slaves to rebel against their planters. During a great number of bloody revolts, the slaves fought for freedom (Craton, Michael. Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies). They deserted fields and founded their own settlements. Production of sugar cane was the main source of income for the island, and it inevitably decreased, due to the lack of labour force. What’s more, Latin America’s tense situation around the slavery was growing, and at last the authorities of Jamaica had to proclaim abolition of slavery in 1834.
The economics of Jamaica had to survive through hard times, until the businessmen from the USA came and invested their assets into agricultural development of the island in 1860s (Kurlansky, M., 1992). Banana, coffee and cacao plantations replaced sugar cane fields. Banana farming grew fast and so did the export. The presence of American companies (such as United Fruit Company) became a stimulation for the economy of Jamaica in the 19th century.
Black, Clinton V. 1983. History of Jamaica. London: Collins Educational
Craton, Michael. Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies(Cornell University Press, 1983)
Kurlansky, Mark. 1992. A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny. Addison-Wesley Publishing.
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Origin and Consequences of the Shift in Labor Force and Slavery
Slavery in the past was an emerging trend that was used by super powers and some countries that had a vast control in the world. The developed states were in a better position of taking control into the world, including states like Virginia. Such possessions included economic muscles and increased arms and ammunition in their defense. Virginian colonial society during the 17th century was a dominant, as reflected from the performance and increased labor. The people in control of the slavery gained enough advantage and increased their activity in slavery. This was a cheap form of getting labor as opposed to hiring expensive and trained labor. Though the slaves were equal beings, they were made to execute certain activities and work for longer hours without their consent1. Apparently, the people in Virginia were the only advantaged people as they accrued more interests. On the other hand, the people affected in the slave trade were the slaves taken from other countries.
Slavery originated in the ancient times when European sailors started routine traveling with ship that had sufficient technology to avoid tidal waves during their movement. During their routine travel, the European sailors came in contact with other races, especially Africans in the west coast of Africa. This was a factor that increased the interaction between the different races as they often came into contact. There were various exchanges that made the Europeans to be more inclined to the Americans as opposed to the Africans. In later progressions, the Americans and Europeans discovered it was prudent to explore the land as the Africans were not increasing the use of the land and Atlantic as a whole. The exploration of Atlantic increased the activities in the land, increasing the number of visits from other societies. In the end, the people who were involved in the exploration decided to embark on further exploration of the African continent.
The Americans were deeply engraved in looking for more labor and other resources to assist in their development. This led to increased transportation of people from the African countries to the American states. Similarly, there were some slaves who were forcibly taken to other countries colonized by the Americans. The Virginia society was in dire need of labor to increase its productivity in the region, as it was a most developing state. In essence, they needed more slaves to ensure that they had more laborers to increase on their productivity.
There were various routes that were used to make the slave transport a success to the United States and other regions. First, they crossed the Sahara to transport the slaves, via the red sea and into the Atlantic territory, while others were exported through the Indian Ocean. It is denoted that many of the slaves that were exported to these countries were captured during the war against the superpowers. However, the countries had a large influence over the war and ended up winning. To make matters worse, there are some Africans who induced the slave trade in the ancient times. Opportunistic Africans discovered that slave trade was the order of the day and decided to make returns from it. Some Africans created links with the people in control of the slave trade and captured fellow Africans2. They decided to increase the trade by selling the Africans to be deported to other countries. This is a factor that increased the population status of the United States, including Virginia.
The slavery trade was increased due to labor shortage in the Virginian state. The Virginian state increased their investments in the economy as they needed an improvement in their operation. In essence, there were many openings for labor, which was insufficient in the country. To avail the labor, the people responsible had to look for other channels that would give sufficient labor. They opted to transport people from other countries since such countries had surging populations. In the end, they landed to take Africans as they were regarded as less volatile and violent. Similarly, the Africans were not advanced and did not have the technological know-how to fight back. There was little opposition from Africans in regard to slaver and forced deportation to other countries. This was due to the stringent measures that were indulged by the overseeing countries.
The developing countries had invested a large amount of cash in the economy and had to increase the operation. However, the operational costs were increasing with each passing day. To make the operational costs to reduce, these countries had to reduce their expenditure, especially in regard to resource development. In averting the costs and expenditure, the countries opted for cheap labor. Since their current population was earning a lot higher, there was need for an external solution to such a problem. The countries reverted to importing slaves that would give cheap labor. The countries explored African states and other states in search of the cheap labor, which was quite successful. In the end, the countries had more resources in terms of labor while reducing their costs in manufacturing and production.
There are several issues that were emerging in regard to slavery and forced labor, especially in the countries that were concerned. To begin with, there are a number of deaths that were resulting from the slavery. There are some slaves that did not adapt to the climate of the new countries. It is evident that people who do not adapt to change in climate will always have difficulty in living. In the end, there were many people who died due to disease manifestation and allergic reactions. The people in Virginia were forced to increase their working hours in their region to ensure that there was increased performance especially in the economic production and development. There was shifting of the slaves from place to place, making them to encounter newer and harsh conditions with different environments. Subsequently, they had to put up with such conditions, resulting to adverse health conditions. In the end, they developed health conditions, making their lives a struggle. This resulted to deaths and repetitive diseases since they could not get better treatment. This was an effect that drastically reduced the population of Virginia in the United States. Secondly, there were a number of people who died as a result of exhaustion, fatigue and lack of sleep. The slaves in Virginia were required to work for longer hours to ensure they performed well in their duties. The countries n charge needed to increase their production from the slaves, making them to work even harder. With such treatment, it was obvious that the people who were involved had little chances of survival. Apparently, many died while working for the slave countries.
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