The Caribbean Islands were long associated with the British Empire as they served as significant and lucrative colonies for a long time. The colonization of the Caribbean Islands by the British Empire came in stages as they attempted to create a colony in Guiana in 1604, but it only lasted for a couple years. From there the colonization of these islands was an ongoing process as the British created colonies in St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts, Barbados and Nevis. Some remained, other faltered. These colonies began to become agricultural economies that focused on the model of sugar plantations that has successfully worked in other parts of the world such as Brazil. This emerging agricultural economy was one that prospered because of the way it used slave labor. In fact, slavery was what the economy in this area rested on. The British established a lucrative slave trade to the Americas as well. However, by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the bondage economy that was created would be challenged as there was a growing movement to end the slave practice as it existed in the British Empire's colonies in the Caribbean. The Abolition and Emancipation movement that was led by intellectuals and religious leaders would signal a change that would take place.
[...] What is clear in the literature on abolition and the emancipation of African slaves from the British Caribbean colonies is that the intellectual climate surrounding the decision to liberate them from their masters was not the idea or the desire of the planters. Marshall describes the situation immediately following the Abolition of Slavery Act of 1833 as a period of disappointment for black slaves as they had not received their promised emancipation, but were instead continually embroiled in disputes with their ‘former masters' attempted by various legal and illegal contrivances to reduce that small portion of ‘free time' which the Abolition Act had decreed” (Marshall, 1996). [...]
[...] Resistance to slavery was always present; the idea that slaves were passive and accepting of their condition does not bear up when looking at historical information. Walter Rucker's article on the conjure men and their leadership role in slave revolts in New York and in Jamaica, fifty years apart, reveal how white people were afraid of the African medicine or Obeah men (and women) because they were able to organize resistance. (Rucker, 2001: 84) As Rucker notes, from the early 18th century through to the mid 19th century there are many white writers speaking of their fear of the conjure leaders in the slave communities. [...]
[...] for the Emancipation of slaves in the British Caribbean. From this it will be clear that Emancipation was in fact the product of a long process of cultural and intellectual reforms within Western European society, culminating in the humanitarian culture of nineteenth century Protestantism to educate and improve what were perceived as the naturally inferior or “backwards” people they encountered. Slavery built the economic fortunes of the European countries which were involved in practicing it. This includes England, France, Spain and Holland. [...]
[...] The exact reason for the emancipation of black slaves in the colonies is debatable, but it included the notion that slavery itself had no longer proven to be a viable and profitable economic model. The historical situation surrounding this argument fails to take into account the reluctance of planters to abandon slavery out of fears of open revolts or violence from their former bondsmen, and the detrimental economic impact abolition would cause their plantation enterprises. Contrary to most literature regarding the abolition of his time, Trinidadian intellectual (who would later become Prime Minister), Eric Williams claimed that the economics, not humanitarianism ended the British slave trade: commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. [...]
[...] Events like labour riots, Afro-Spirituality and Nation Language were clear examples of the continuing struggle between the unequal segments of emancipated Caribbean societies. (YorkU, 2009). Slavery did not collapse in the British Caribbean due to failing economic production and inefficient or non-profitable production methods involving forced labour offset by stiff economic competition from the East Indian colonies. The financial hardships which struck Caribbean agricultural output was a result of abolition where previously profitable enterprises were no longer able to operate with the owners being required to pay wages to their workers. [...]
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