Slavery in the Americas

Originated in European Contact with Africa


Contemporary Jamaican Environment & Development
past as prelude to current conflicts.

Dates | Dubois | Manley | Contemporary

Key dates

1442, Portuguese sold the first African slaves in Europe.

1500, an estimated 150,000 Africans had been sold as slaves by Portuguese traders in Europe.

1502, Spanish governor of Haiti brings his Spanish born African slaves.

1515, Spanish King and later Emperor Charles V allows importation of 4000 slaves annually to the Spanish West Indies.

1713, Assiento granted to Britain by Spain as a result of Queen Ann's War.

1760s, as many as 100,000 Africans per annum transported to Indies.

1780s, Quaker churches in England begin to voice opposition to slavery

1789, French declare universal human equality and abolish slavery


The Negro, W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, 1915.

“The chief island domain of English slavery was Jamaica.”

“In 1663 the freedom of the Maroons was acknowledged, land was given them.”

1664-1738 Maroon guerrilla war with British
2500 acres & freedom was granted and no insurrection occurred until 1795.

1700-1786; 610,000 slaves were imported to Jamaica 300,000 survived in 1787.

Emancipation by country

Haitian Revolt, 1804: Toussaint L'Ouverture & Jean Jacques Dessalines

Simon Bolivar retreats to Jamaica in 1815 to plan his liberation of New Grenada.

Guatemala, 1824
Peru - Bolivia - Chile, 1825
Mexico, 1829

1831 Jamaican slave revolution

255,000 slaves were manumitted by Britain in 1833.

1861 Freedman’s riot, and civil unrest.

A Caribbean Reader on Development, Beckford, Davies, et. al., Jamaica, 1986.

Michael Manley

“The Caribbean region, comprising some 50 million people, is a potentially viable aggregation divided into no less than 30 countries and nation-states. It is therefore impossible to conceive of ultimate viability in the Caribbean outside of the context of regional integration.”

“The fact that the region played such a profound part, in the past, in the entire process which led to capital accumulation that was the foundation of the industrial revolution is in a sense ironic.”

“the Caribbean is now an extreme example of that foreign exchange crisis that besets and bedevils the Third World. Secondly, the Caribbean is interesting in that the region has demonstrated a certain political creativity in search of new political and economic forms.”

“the problem of small countries trying to exercise sovereignty in the presence of the might of imperialism.”

“The problem is this. The political process has to deal with Caribbean societies with up to three hundred years of colonialism, dependent economic structures, dependent social psychologies and make them into a viable and just nation states.”

Contemporary problems in the Caribbean basin:

NAFTA • has isolated the nations like Jamaica that trade with USA.

Conservation • serious loss of forestry, fisheries and soil, urban air pollution.

Health • has the highest rate of HIV-AIDs infections outside of Africa

Population • high infant mortality rates in rural areas compensated for by high TFR, or total fertility rates ( the number of children women may have during their reproductive lifetimes).

reversals of equity & progressive agenda
land reform
cooperative movement
Grenadan revolution 1979-83

US suppression of Cuban assisted government.