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British West Indies
Transcript of British West Indies
Motives for Settlement
The first English discovery was an accident, when castaways from a shipwreck landed on Bermuda.
Charles I opened the general area of the Bahamas for English settlement in 1629.
Religious dissenters, mainly Puritans, sought a new place to avoid religious friction.
More Puritans came to the British West Indies than Massachusetts itself in search of religious freedom.
Puritan religion was directly linked to the political system.
People who had slaves would attempt to convert them to Puritanism and attempt to introduce them to English religion and customs.
Hierarchical society based on racial distinctions and law.
White landowning planters & merchants had most political power.
Planters would retire to Europe leaving representatives in charge or estates and local gov.
West India Interest: a lobby of planters & merchants who made gov. decisions.
Capt. Woods Rogers was the royal governor 1717.
Main crops were
, cocoa, and coffee.
Developed a major plantation economy, and plantations were very expensive to manage.
To produce enough sugar to meet trade demands and gain enough profit to compensate for the high cost, planters relied on slavery.
Some families built a fortune on land, sugar production, and trade alone.
Sugar was a very labor intensive crop
When the main crop in the Indies switched from tobacco to sugar, African slaves became more common
Slavery made sugarcane production possible
Slaves were imported from Africa frequently, because the death rate of slaves was higher than their birth rate due to malnutrition and overwork
Relations with Natives
By this time, the West Indie natives had already been virtually wiped out due to European diseases and the Spanish using them as slaves in gold mines.