Life of slaves in the Caribbean Essay

According to Shepherd (25), slavery, colonialism effects and several cultures diversely represent Caribbean. Slavery as an establishment was based on the platform of submission and dominance. The occurrence of slavery is experienced in a developed society’s notably the United States. When the Europeans arrived in the Caribbean Islands, constant change was effected. Introduction of the plantation system and inhabitants loss amounted to repercussions in the islands. The systems of plantation consisted of a powerful class, lower class, and a wealthy class. This is because the plantation systems and labor were required for prosperity. Slavery was a solution to the labor force for the capitalist class. According to Engerman & Barbara (43) Slavery played a fundamental function in the economy of the island hence sugar became the chief economic ingredient. During slavery, the economy of the Caribbean islands expanded leading to increased families disposable income from farming activities. Triangle trade was caused by demand in slaves who were required to cultivate crops such as sugarcane. European ships stopped in the African oceans to trade in metals, liquor, weapons, and ammunitions that were taken from captives in during raids and wars; furthermore, sugar and salt were exchangeable for slaves. Approximately fifteen million slaves were transported through the Oceans later settling into the Caribbean Islands. Conditions in the ship were not favorable. A lot of concentration was on the healthiest and young people because of their worth in America.

History of slavery

Slavery in the Caribbean islands dates from the time when population was required to manufacture sugar being the main trade. The white servants had earlier come before the African slaves. Although the white servants did not come in huge numbers, they were rewarded after contracts. During this period, workers who came from Barbados were kidnapped. Women acted as house cleaners while men operated as servants to the slave owners. Most Jamaicans and Irish girls went to work in the island. Rules were set for slaves as a tool for control purposes in the agricultural fields. The owners of plantations allowed slaves to undergo marriage and baptism.

Effects of slavery in the Caribbean

Human suffering increased because the harsh living conditions. Slaves were kept in dirty rooms and had nothing to eat and drink. Many people suffered from increased violence. Several slaves captured died along the journey. During this period, people were kidnapped in their fortified houses. Before Europeans got involved in exporting slaves, the African continent was made of smaller tribes, which warred during conflicts hence animosity between factions. The groups involved in war switched from the old habits of fighting with the coming of the Europeans. Most people lost their lives in the process of working in the European firms. According to Kiple (89), the harsh weather conditions made the Africans sick hence causing death. In the plantation fields, Africans were often subject to attacks and were eaten by wild animals. African women were subjects of rape and this caused psychologically depression. Poverty affected Africans because of lack opportunity for enrichment through working for the Europeans. Slavery created an opportunity for underdevelopment because no African could attain formal education. The Europeans regarded Africans as monkeys. Frustrations became a benchmark in the Caribbean Island. People resorted to drugs, which could console during the working periods. Slavery created enmity between the Europeans and Africans because the Africans were recipients of improper treatment. Decrease in population was evident because most Africans died in the process of working for the Europeans in their bushes. If one did not work as per required by the bosses, punishment was the recipe.

The end of slavery

According to Kiple (67), after all the suffering of the Africans in the Caribbean and Western Europe, agricultural interest was evident in revolution in industrialization. With the advent of industries, work became easy. Slavery ended through movements, which agitated for civil rights. Slave trade was illegal in the United States and Britain. This was after an agreement among various authorities that were subjects to the evils caused by slavery. All the colonial masters declared slavery illegitimate through the amendment of the constitution. Thereafter, all individuals were recipients of equal treatment regardless of background, colour, race, creed and religion.


Shepherd (46) reports that slave liberation made Caribbean planters susceptible employers in the world in areas that were sparsely populated. The extra labor by slaves was economically advantageous to the white settlers. Accessibility of land and lack of personality made the West Indian government initiate forces of labor that responded to money incentives. Upon liberation, the slave’s activities bore fruit through fighting oppression.

Works Cited

Engerman, Stanley. & Barbara, Solow. British Capitalism and Caribbean Slavery: The

Legacy of Eric Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004. Print.

Kiple, Kenneth. The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

Shepherd, Verene. Working Slavery, Pricing Freedom: Perspectives from the Caribbean, Africa & the African Diaspora. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Print.