History of the Caribbean: Plantations, Trade and War in the Atlantic World / Edition 1

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From the arrival of the first Europeans in the region until the 1930s, plantations-building their fortunes on sugar and to a lesser extent on cotton, indigo, tobacco, coffee, and bananas-brought unprecedented wealth to Old World owners, effected a fundamental shift in the landscape and economy of the Caribbean and the Atlantic world, saw the enslavement of first indigenous populations and then imported Africans, and led to bloody wars on both sides of the Atlantic over control of the lucrative sugar market.

In this comprehensive volume, Moya Pons explores the history, context, and consequences of the major changes that marked the Caribbean between Columbus' initial landing and the Great Depression. He investigates indigenous commercial ventures and institutions, the rise of the plantation economy in the 16th century, and the impact of slavery. He discusses the slave revolts and struggles for independence, seen by European landowners not as a matter of human or political rights but as an expensive interruption to their profit flow. History of the Caribbean traces the fate of a group of small islands whose natural resouces transformed them first into some of the wealthiest places on earth and then into some of the poorest.

This book intertwines the socioeconomics of the Caribbean with Atlantic history in a captivating narrative that will fascinate a general audience and provide new insights for specialists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558764156
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 386
  • Sales rank: 559,627
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Moya Pons, Former research Director at CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, is the author of twenty books. He has also taught at Columbia University and at universities in the Dominican Republic.He also was Secretary of Environmental Affairs of the Dominican Republic.
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Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Spanish Occupation of the Antilles
European Background
The Arawaks
European Background
Gold and Encomiendas

Chapter 2. Sugar and Slaves in the Spanish Antilles
The First Sugar Plantations
African Slaves and Marronage
Sugar and Ginger Exports
The Portuguese-Brazilian Factor

Chapter 3. Monopoly, Privateers, and Contraband
The Spanish Monopoly
Pirates and Privateers
Cattle, Hides, and Contraband
English Traders and Corsairs
The Dutch: Salt and Smuggling
Fighting Contraband: The Devastations

Chapter 4. The Early Tobacco Colonies
Dutch Incursions and War
Tobacco and the English
The First French Settlements
Filibusters and Buccaneers
Cromwell's Western Design
The Dutch Expulsion from Brazil

Chapter 5. The Sugar Revolution in the Lesser Antilles
The Dutch and the Sugar Trade
Sugar Beginnings in the Lesser Antilles
White Indentured Workers and Black Slaves
Sugar Production and Technology
Mercantilism and the Sugar Trade
Cuba's Negligible Sugar Production

Chapter 6. Poverty in the Spanish Antilles
Economic Decline and Government Subsidies
The Collapse of Exports
Epidemics and Demographic Crisis
Social Malaise and Stagnation
Impoverished Creole Peasants

Chapter 7. The Emergence of Saint-Domingue
From Tortuga to Española
French Settlements in Western Española
Trading with the Enemy
Fighting for the Land

Chapter 8. Caribbean Sugar Economies
in the Eighteenth Century
From Tobacco to Sugar in the British West Indies
The Rise of Sugar as a Commodity
Monoculture and Land Concentration
The French Sugar Business
Financing the Sugar Industry
Organization of the Slave Trade
Slave Demography and the Economics of Slavery
Technological Changes: The Jamaican Train

Chapter 9. Caribbean Trade Circuits in the
Eighteenth Century
Navigation Laws and Colonial Trade
Caribbean Molasses and the North Americans
Spanish Privateering and War
Contraband Trade with North America
The Spanish Intercolonial Trade
Cuba's Slow Rise as a Sugar Producer

Chapter 10. Trade and Wars
Expanding the Plantation Economy
The Neutral Ports
British Naval Dominance
Towards Free Trade
Plantation Development in the "Ceded Islands"
Consolidation of the Plantation Economy
The Caribbean during the American Revolution

Chapter 11. The French Revolution in the Antilles
Plantation Economics in Saint-Domingue
Social and Racial Tensions
Deepening Political Conflicts
Slave Revolt and British Military Intervention
Toussaint Louverture's Rule
French Military Catastrophe and the Birth of Haiti
Revolution and Repression in the French Antilles

Chapter 12. New Peasantries in Haiti and Santo Domingo
Haiti's Agrarian Policies
Emigration and Decline in Santo Domingo
The Haitian Invasion of Santo Domingo
The Abolition of Slavery and the Land Question
Peasants' Resistance to the Rural Code
Financial Crisis and Economic Difficulties

Chapter 13. Abolitionism and Crisis in the
British West Indies
Early Abolitionist Activities
Caribbean Wars during the Haitian Revolution
Economic Impact of the Haitian Revolution
The Napoleonic Wars in the Caribbean
The Abolition of the Slave Trade
Sugar Production: Growth and Decline
Impact of the British-American Trade War
The "Old"West Indies in Economic Decline
Towards Amelioration and Emancipation

Chapter 14. Sugar without Slaves in the British and
French Antilles
The Apprenticeship Period
Exodus from the Plantations and Free Villages
Labor Shortages and Imported Indentured Workers
Mechanization of Sugar Mills
The First French Centrales
End of Slavery in the French Colonies

Chapter 15. The Sugar Revolution in Cuba
and Puerto Rico
Cuba's Ascent in the Sugar Market
Impact of the Haitian Revolution
Slave Labor and Chinese Indentured Workers
Cuba: The World's Largest Sugar Producer
From Peasant Agriculture to Plantations in Puerto Rico
The "Cédula de Gracias"
Importing Slaves for Puerto Rico's Plantations
The Labor Problem and the Libreta System
Puerto Rico: The World's Second Largest Sugar Producer

Chapter 16. Abolitionism in the Spanish Antilles
Proindependence Political Movements
The Reformista Movement
Annexionism and the Slave Trade
Antislavery Revolts and Conspiracies
Filibuster Expeditions
Santo Domingo's Struggle for Independence
Liberals and Reformistas
The Abolitionist Movement
Rebellion for Independence
The Ten Years War
Apprenticeship under the Moret Law
Sugar Production during the Ten Years War
Patronato and the End of Slavery

Chapter 17. Centrales and Colonos
Beet Sugar Competition
Central Factories in the French Antilles
Mechanization of Mills in the British West Indies
Sugar Centrales in Puerto Rico
The Coffee Alternative in Puerto Rico
Sugar Centrales in the Dominican Republic
Sugar Centrales in Cuba

Chapter 18. Plantations under American Control
Cuba's War of Independence
Cuba under American Control
The American Sugar Trust in Cuba
Puerto Rico under American control
An American Protectorate in the Dominican Republic
American Investments in Occupied Haiti

Chapter 19. Migrants, Peasants, and Proletarians
Poverty and Emigration in the West Indies
Peasants and the Rural Economy in the Spanish Antilles
West Indian Peasants and Proletarians
Immigration and the Emerging Middle Classes

Chapter 20. Epilogue: Why the Sugar Plantation?
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    The best general history of the Caribbean, ever

    Among the many histories of the Caribbean in the market, this is the first one that clearly explains the role of the Caribbean in the shaping of the Atlantic economy, as well as the linkages of the region with Colonia North America. The role of the sugar plantations in integrating the Caribbean into a single, functional, economic entity is described very accurately. The bibliographical essay is simply unparalleled.

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