The West Indies: Patterns of Development, Culture and Environmental Change since 1492 / Edition 1 available in Paperback
This magisterial survey of the historical geography of the West Indies is at bottom concerned with the causes and consequences of three complex and inter-related phenomena: the rapid and total removal of a large aboriginal population; the development of plantation agriculture and the arrival of enforced labour, in the form of many thousands of African slaves; and the environmental, ecological and cultural changes that resulted. Dr Watts shows how the initial European vision of a land of plenty has been replaced by an awareness of the geographic and ecological fragiliaty of the area, and explains how the exploitative agricultural systems of the colonial and recent West Indies have not adjusted to the demands of the environment. An enormous array of historical, biological and literary sources are marshalled in support of Dr Watts' analysis, which is likely to remain the standard work on the subject for many years to come.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations; Preface; Notes and abbreviations; 1. The environment; 2. Aboriginal peoples: settlement and culture; 3. Spanish intrusion and colonisation; 4. Early northwest European plantations; 5. Northwest European sugar estates: the formative period, 1645 to 1665; 6. The extension of the West Indian sugar estate economy, 1665 to 1833: I General development and trade; 7. The extension of the West Indian sugar estate economy, 1665 to 1833: II Sugar production, regional population growth, and the slave-white ratios; 8. The extension of the West Indian sugar estate economy, 1665 to 1833: III Population: social characteristics, migration and the growth of towns; 9. The extension of the West Indian sugar estate economy, 1665 to 1833: IV Agricultural innovation and environmental change; 10. Post–1833 adjustments: the period to 1900; 11. Twentieth-century trends, and conclusions; Notes; References.