caribbean history

Topics: Caribbean, Agriculture, Slavery Pages: 3 (801 words) Published: May 4, 2014
Economic situation after Emancipation

The Post Emancipation period resulted in most of the ex slaves leaving the estates. Many of them set themselves up as peasant (small) farmers. This resulted in a massive labour shortage which threatened to cause the sugar industry to collapse.

The sugar industry was already in a poor state because of (1) shortage of labour and (2) sugar beet competition. To avoid total decline, planters tried to introduce immigration in the form of bringing in laborers from Europe, other Caribbean islands, Asia and other areas. They also tried to introduce technology in order to reduce the cost of sugar production. However, all of these efforts could not stop the changes from sugar monoculture (planting of one crop which was sugar cane) to agricultural diversification (planting of many crops). As a result of this, many crops were produced after emancipation e.g. banana, cocoa and arrowroot. Agricultural diversification also occurred because ex-slaves grew crops other than sugar cane. These peasant farmers grew not only food crops for eating but cash crops to sell. Peasant farming began by ex slaves but was boosted by the East Indians who came through immigration to work on plantations.

Therefore the emancipation of slaves and their exodus or mass departure from the plantations led to (1) the development of peasant farming and (2) Immigration. Labour Problems in the Post Emancipation period

Before emancipation, all territories in the British West Indies could be classified as the same because they were all plantation economies based on slave labour. After emancipation island separatedness developed as each island began to take different turns to develop. In other words islands developed at different rates. Larger islands had greater labour problems because they had more land and larger numbers of ex slaves but few of them were willing to work on plantations after emancipation.

Let's compare Trinidad and Jamaica after...
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