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A plantation economy is an economy based on agricultural mass production, usually of a few commodity crops grown on large farms called plantations. Plantation economies rely on the export of cash crops as a source of income. Prominent crops included cotton, rubber, sugar cane, tobacco, figs, rice, kapok, sisal, and species in the genus Indigofera , used to produce indigo dye.
The longer a crop's harvest period, the more efficient plantations become. Economies of scale are also achieved when the distance to market is long. Plantation crops usually need processing immediately after harvesting. Sugarcane, tea, sisal, and palm oil are most suited to plantations, while coconuts, rubber, and cotton are suitable to a lesser extent.
Plantation economies are factory-like, industrialised and centralised forms of agriculture, owned by large corporations or affluent owners. Under normal circumstances, plantation economies are not as efficient as small farm holdings, since there is immense difficulty in proper supervision of labour over a large land area. However, when there are large distances between the plantations and their markets, processing to reduce the bulk of the crop greatly lowers shipping costs. Hence, large plantations which produce large quantities of the good are able to achieve economies of scale from these expensive processing machinery, as the per unit cost of processing is greatly diminished. This economy of scale can be achieved best with tropical crops that are harvested continuously through the year, fully utilising the processing machinery. Examples of crops that are suitable to be processed are sugar, sisal, palm oil, and tea.
In the Thirteen Colonies, plantations were concentrated in the South. These colonies included Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. They had good soil and almost year-round growing seasons, ideal for crops such as rice and tobacco. The existence of many waterways in the region made transportation easier. Each colony specialized in one or two crops, with Virginia standing out in tobacco production
Planters embraced the use of slaves mainly because indentured labor became expensive. Some indentured servants were also leaving to start their own farms as land was widely available. Colonists tried to use Native Americans for labor, but they were susceptible to European diseases and died in large numbers. The plantation owners then turned to enslaved Africans for labor. In 1665, there were fewer than 500 Africans in Virginia but by 1750, 85 percent of the 235,000 slaves lived in the Southern colonies, Virginia included. Africans made up 40 percent of the South’s population.
According to the 1840 United States Census, one out of every four families in Virginia owned slaves. There were over 100 plantation owners who owned over 100 slaves.The number of slaves in the 15 States was just shy of 4 million in a total population 12.4 million and the percentage was 32% of the population.
Fewer than one-third of Southern families owned slaves at the peak of slavery prior to the Civil War. In Mississippi and South Carolina the figure approached one half. The total number of slave owners was 385,000 (including, in Louisiana, some free African Americans), amounting to approximately 3.8% of the Southern and Border states population.
On a plantation with more than 100 slaves, the capital value of the slaves was greater than the capital value of the land and farming implements. The first plantations occurred in the Caribbean islands, particularly, in the West Indies on the island of Hispaniola, where it was initiated by the Spaniards in the early 16th century. The plantation system was based on slave labor and it was marked by inhumane methods of exploitation. After being established in the Caribbean islands, the plantation system spread during the 16th,17th and 18th century to Mexico, Brazil, Britain’s southern Atlantic colonies in North America and Indonesia. All the plantation system had a form of slavery in its establishment, slaves were initially forced to be labors to the plantation system, these slaves were primarily native Indians, but the system was later extended to include slaves shipped from Africa. Indeed, the progress of the plantation system was accompanied by the rapid growth of the slave trade. The plantation system peaked in the first half of the 18th century, but later on, during the middle of 19th century, there was a significant increase in demand for cotton from European countries, which means there was a need for expanding the plantation in the southern parts of United States. This made the plantation system reach a profound crisis, until it was changed from being forcing slave labour to being mainly low-paid wage labors who contained a smaller proportion of forced labour. In the late 19th century, the plantation system started to be owned by monopoly capital investments, were the foreign monopolies was placed in Asia, Latin America and later in Africa. The monopolies were insured high profits from the sale of plantation products by having cheap labours, forced recruitment, peonage and debt servitude.
Enslaved Africans were brought from Africa by the English and other European powers, for their Western Hemisphere colonies. They were shipped from ports in West Africa to the New World. The journey from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean was called "the middle passage", and was one of the three legs which comprised the [trade] among the continents of Europe, the Americas, and Africa.
By some estimates, it is said that some ten million Africans were brought to the Americas. Only about 6% ended up in the North American colonies, while the majority were taken to the Caribbean colonies and South America. A reason many did not make it to the colonies at all was disease and illness. Underneath the slave ship's decks, Africans were held chest-to-chest and could not do much moving. There was waste and urine throughout the hold; this caused the captives to get sick and to die from illnesses that could not be cured.
As the plantation economy expanded, the slave trade grew to meet the growing demand for labor.
Western Europe was the final destination for the plantation produce. At this time, Europe was starting to industrialize, and it needed a lot of materials to manufacture goods. Being the power center of the world at the time, they exploited the New World and Africa to industrialize. Africa supplied slaves for the plantations; the New World produced raw material for industries in Europe. Manufactured goods, of higher value, were then sold both to Africa and the New World. The system was largely run by European merchants
Sugar has a long history as a plantation crop. Cultivation of sugar had to follow a precise scientific system to profit from the production. Sugar plantations everywhere were disproportionate consumers of labor, often enslaved, because of the high mortality of the plantation laborers. In Brazil, plantations were called casas grandes and suffered from similar issues.
The slaves working the sugar plantation were caught in an unceasing rhythm of arduous labor year after year. Sugarcane is harvested about 18 months after planting and the plantations usually divided their land for efficiency. One plot was lying fallow, one plot was growing cane, and the final plot was being harvested. During the December–May rainy season, slaves planted, fertilized with animal dung, and weeded. From January to June, they harvested the cane by chopping the plants off close to the ground, stripping the leaves and then cutting them into shorter strips to be bundled off to be sent to the sugar cane mill.
In the mill, the cane was crushed using a three-roller mill. The juice from the crushing of the cane was then boiled or clarified until it crystallized into sugar. Some plantations also went a step further and distilled the molasses, the liquid left after the sugar is boiled or clarified, to make rum. The sugar was then shipped back to Europe. For the slave laborer, the routine started all over again.
With the 19th-century abolition of slavery, plantations continued to grow sugar cane, but sugar beets, which can be grown in temperate climates, increased their share of the sugar market.
Indigofera was a major crop cultivated during the 18th century, in Venezuela, Guatemala—and Haiti until the slave rebellion against France that left them embargoed by Europe and India in the 19th and 20th centuries. The indigo crop was grown for making blue indigo dye in the pre-industrial age.
Mahatma Gandhi's investigation of indigo workers' claims of exploitation led to the passage of the Champaran Agrarian Bill in 1917 by the British colonial government.
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The currency for the Georgia colony was the Pound sterling, a gold coin or very light green bill with the national pound symbol. The currency is worth about one and one half U.S. dollar.
The currency for the New York was at the time of the colony the New York pound. This currency was primarily used and made in the 1700s.
The history of Antigua and Barbuda can be separated into three distinct eras. In the first, the islands were inhabited by three successive Amerindian societies. The islands were neglected by the first wave of European colonisation, but were settled by England in 1632. Under British control, the islands witnessed an influx of both Britons and African slaves. In 1981, the islands were granted independence as the modern state of Antigua and Barbuda.
A plantation is the large-scale estate meant for farming that specializes in cash crops. The crops that are grown include cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, opium, sisal, oil seeds, oil palms, fruits, rubber trees, and forest trees. Protectionist policies and natural comparative advantage have sometimes contributed to determining where plantations are located.
Saint-Domingue was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, in what is now Haiti.
Slavery in the colonial history of the United States, from 1600 to 1776, developed from complex factors, and researchers have proposed several theories to explain the development of the institution of slavery and of the slave trade. Slavery strongly correlated with Europe's American colonies' need for labor, especially for the labor-intensive plantation economies of the sugar colonies in the Caribbean, operated by Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic.
Sugar was the main crop produced on plantations throughout the Caribbean in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Most islands were covered with sugar cane fields, and mills for refining it. The main source of labor, until the abolition of chattel slavery, was enslaved Africans. After the abolition of slavery, indentured laborers from India, China, and Java migrated to the Caribbean to mostly work on the sugar plantations. These plantations produced 80 to 90 percent of the sugar consumed in Western Europe.
The history of the Southern United States reaches back hundreds of years and includes the Mississippian people, well known for their mound building. European history in the region began in the very earliest days of the exploration and colonization of North America. Spain, France, and England eventually explored and claimed parts of what is now the Southern United States, and the cultural influences of each can still be seen in the region today. In the centuries since, the history of the Southern United States has recorded a large number of important events, including the American Revolution, the American Civil War, the ending of slavery, and the American Civil Rights Movement.
Plantation was an early method of colonisation where settlers went in order to establish a permanent or semi-permanent colonial base, for example for planting tobacco or cotton. Such plantations were also frequently intended to promote Western culture and Christianity among nearby indigenous peoples, as can be seen in the early East-Coast plantations in America. Although the term "planter" to refer to a settler first appears as early as the 16th-century, the earliest true colonial plantation is usually agreed to be that of the Plantations of Ireland.
Slavery in the British and French Caribbean refers to slavery in the parts of the Caribbean dominated by France or the British Empire.
The Antebellum South was a period in the history of the Southern United States from the late 18th century until the start of the American Civil War in 1861. This period in the South's history was marked by the economic growth of the region, largely due to its heavy reliance on slavery, and of its political influence on the U.S. federal government. It was also characterized by the rise of abolition and the gradual polarization of the country between abolitionists and supporters of slavery.
Engenho is a colonial-era Portuguese term for a sugar cane mill and the associated facilities. In Spanish-speaking countries such as Cuba and Puerto Rico, they are called ingenios. The word engenho usually only referred to the mill, but it could also describe the area as a whole including land, a mill, the people who farmed and who had a knowledge of sugar production, and a crop of sugar cane. A large estate was required because of the massive amount of labor needed to yield refined sugar, molasses, or rum from raw sugar cane. These estates were prevalent in Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and other countries in the Caribbean. Today, Brazil is still one of the world's major producers of sugar.
The institution of slavery in North America existed from the earliest years of the colonial history of the United States until 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment permanently abolished slavery throughout the entire United States. It was also abolished among the sovereign Indian tribes in Indian Territory by new peace treaties which the US required after the war.
The history of commercial tobacco production in the United States dates back to the 17th century when the first commercial crop was planted. The industry originated in the production of tobacco for pipes and snuff. Different war efforts in the world created a shift in demand and production of tobacco in the world and the American colonies. With the onset of the American Revolution trade with the colonies was interrupted which shifted trade to other countries in the world. During this shift there was an increase in demand for tobacco in the United States, where the demand for tobacco in the form of cigars and chewing tobacco increased. Other wars, such as the War of 1812 would introduce the Andalusian cigarette to the rest of Europe. This, accompanied with the American Civil War changed the production of tobacco in America to the manufactured cigarette.
During the British colonization of North America, the Thirteen Colonies provided England with much needed money and resources. However, the culture of the Southern and Chesapeake Colonies was different from that of the Northern and Middle Colonies and from that of their common British colonial power.
Proto-globalization or early modern globalization is a period of the history of globalization roughly spanning the years between 1600 and 1800, following the period of archaic globalization. First introduced by historians A. G. Hopkins and Christopher Bayly, the term describes the phase of increasing trade links and cultural exchange that characterized the period immediately preceding the advent of so-called "modern globalization" in the 19th century.
Tobacco cultivation and exports formed an essential component of the American colonial economy. During the Civil War, they were distinct from other cash crops in terms of agricultural demands, trade, slave labor, and plantation culture. Many influential American revolutionaries, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, owned tobacco plantations, and were financially devastated by debt to British tobacco merchants shortly before the American Revolution.
Sugar production in the United States Virgin Islands was an important part of the Economy of the United States Virgin Islands for over two hundred years. Long before the islands became part of the United States in 1917, the islands, particular the island of Saint Croix, was exploited by the Danish from the early 18th century and by 1800 over 30,000 acres were under cultivation, earning Saint Croix a reputation as "The Garden of the West Indies". Since the closing of the last sugar factory on Saint Croix in 1966, the industry has become only a memory.
Plantation complexes in the Southern United States refers to the built environment that was common on agricultural plantations in the American South from the 17th into the 20th century. The complex included everything from the main residence down to the pens for livestock. A plantation originally denoted a settlement in which settlers were "planted" to establish a colonial base. Southern plantations were generally self-sufficient settlements that relied on the forced labor of slaves, similar to the way that a medieval manorial estate relied upon the forced labor of serfs.
Afro-Barbadians or African or Black Barbadians, are Barbadians of entirely or predominantly African descent.
Slavery in Cuba was associated with labor demand to support the sugar cane plantations. It existed on the territory of the island of Cuba from the 16th century until it was abolished by royal decree on October 7, 1886. The first organised slavery in Cuba was introduced by the Spanish colonialists who attacked and enslaved the island's indigenous people on a grand scale. Cuba's original population was eventually destroyed completely, partly due to lethal forced labor, in the course of the 1500s, and the colonialists were in need for new slave supplies to uphold their reign and production. More than a million African slaves were brought to Cuba as part of the Atlantic slave trade; Cuba did not end its participation in the slave trade until 1867. As the slaves outnumbered the European Cubans, a large proportion of Cubans are descended from these African slaves, perhaps as many as 65% of the population.
The planter class, known alternatively in the United States as the Southern aristocracy, was a socio-economic caste of Pan-American society that dominated seventeenth- and eighteenth-century agricultural markets through the forced labor of slaves of African origin. The Atlantic slave trade permitted planters access to inexpensive labor for the planting and harvesting of crops such as tobacco, cotton, indigo, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, sisal, oil seeds, oil palms, hemp, rubber trees, and fruits. Planters were considered part of the American gentry.