The Spanish settled Jamaica, Cuba and Hispaniola, amongst other islands. In 1607 the English established a colony on the east coast of America, named Virginia. In 1623 and 1625, they settled the islands of St Kitts and Barbados in the Caribbean. In 1655 the British took the island of Jamaica from the Spanish.
This system did not supply enough workers as the tobacco farms became sugar plantations. Sugar needed a large number of workers. The Portuguese had been using enslaved Africans to grow sugar in the Madeira Islands (in the north Atlantic Ocean) since about 1460. Africa was closer to the Caribbean than Europe was. The African climate was similar to that of the Caribbean.
that is the quintessence of the hideousness of slavery, isn't it, that a family member could own their child and - or you know what I mean, or own series of children and live with that and remain - and keep them in continued slavery.
one French planter declared that up to a third of his slave stock came from his "own loins" was the quote. So it was quite common, this very profligate sexual behavior with slaves.
GROSS: That's just kind of chilling, what you just said. It almost sounds like you're breeding your own slaves to work the plantation.
it was not until I was reading some of the work by the abolitionists and one of their big, kind of, campaigns was that it was blood-stained sugar. That was what they described it, that it carried the blood of slaves. And I remember actually at that point putting some sugar into something and thinking, ah, it's this.
in America the parallels would be, as I say, cotton or tobacco - how these simple - these commodities have such real visceral impact on the way our lives unfold and how extraordinary that is. That we don't consume them with any of those realizations, but that's the truth of it.
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