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Slavery in the British and French Caribbean

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**Historical Overview**:
– England colonized St. Kitts, Barbados, and Jamaica in the early 17th century, establishing a slave-based labor system for cash crop production.
– French colonies in the Caribbean had active slavery since the early 16th century, with around 13,000 Africans trafficked annually to the French West Indies by 1778.
– Slavery was integral to the economies of both British and French colonies, particularly for sugar production, leading to high death rates among Black slaves.

**Economic Impact and Labor Systems**:
– Slavery in the Caribbean was crucial for producing commodities like sugar, rum, tobacco, coffee, and indigo.
– The French colony of Saint-Domingue out-produced all British islands combined, emphasizing the economic significance of slavery.
Sugar production was closely linked to the institution of slavery, influencing abolition movements and economic dynamics in the colonies.

**Legislation and Abolition**:
– The French Republic and Napoleon played significant roles in the abolition of Black slavery in French colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries.
– Britain enacted the Slave Trade Act in 1807 and the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, gradually ending slavery in its colonies.
– Post-abolition, labor shortages in colonies like Trinidad led to the importation of indentured servants from various regions, marking a transition in labor practices.

**Conditions of Slaves and Abolition Movements**:
– Slaves in Anglo-American colonies endured harsh conditions during the Middle Passage and faced excruciating living and working conditions, with short lifespans.
– Key figures like Victor Schoelcher and movements like the Demerara rebellion of 1823 played crucial roles in advocating for the abolition of slavery.
– The Abolition Project and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 marked significant milestones in the gradual end of slavery in British territories.

**Trade and Commerce**:
– The French triangular slave trade route connected France, Africa, and the Caribbean, with slaving interests based in cities like Nantes and Bordeaux.
– European traders brought cheap goods to Africa for the slave trade, impacting the mercantilist economy.
– The cost of a slave in a French colony was £19, highlighting the economic aspects of the slave trade and its impact on commerce in the Caribbean.

Slavery in the British and French Caribbean refers to slavery in the parts of the Caribbean dominated by France or the British Empire.

Emancipation proclamation of Guadeloupe.
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