History Sba Sample

Topics: Caribbean, North America, Trinidad and Tobago Pages: 2 (300 words) Published: February 3, 2013

In the seventeenth century both in the English and to a lesser extent, the French islands, a

change occurred in the basic cash crop. This change was so quick and widespread that it could

only be described as a revolution.

The sugar revolution changed the Lesser Antilles completely. It was not just that sugar

replaced tobacco as the chief crop: the population changed from white to black, the size of

landholdings changed, and eventually the West Indies became ‘the cockpit of Europe’. The list

of changes the sugar revolution brought is almost inexhaustible.

The sugar revolution is most clearly demonstrated in the history of Barbados where it

occurred in roughly ten years, 1640 to 1650. It was not quite so rapid in the other islands.

Jamaica changed to sugar slowly and less completely at a much later date. However, in each

island ‘revolution’ can be used to describe the startling economic, social and political changes

that occurred.

The caused which brought about the change from tobacco to sugar all came together about

1640. Tobacco, the crop on which Jamaica's economy was founded, started to decline as a

result of competition from Virginia tobacco ( North America). In 1613 John Rolfe had

introduced tobacco to Virginia.

A variety imported from Trinidad proved to show good quality and growth potential. It is

ironic that a tobacco plant species from the West Indies should be the source of the decline of 3

the West Indian tobacco crop. By 1627 Virginia was able to ship nearly 500 000 lbs (226 800

kg) of tobacco to England in one year. It was the quality and quantity of Virginian tobacco

which acted as a push factor for Jamaica's change to sugar for the demand for Jamaican

tobacco plummeted while the world demand for sugar increased.

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