why was jamaica important to the british empire

Cheap sugar cane was then becoming popular in Europe and the new settlers decided to take full advantage of these new developments by utilizing the island of Jamaica. Lacking the necessary labour needed to effectively run large scale sugar farming the British turned to the continent of Africa, specifically West Africa, to acquire cheap slave labour. Large gangs of African field labourers were herded, branded and brought to the island to serve as new labourers. The rise in demand for sugar cane in Europe prompted and maintained the demand for cheap African slave labour. As the years progressed billions of enslaved Africans were brought to the island of Jamaica to work on the sugar plantations. The treatment of the enslaved Africans was not at all any less severe than it was for the Tainos; in fact it was far worst. The British was very innovative with the methods that they used to coerce the enslaved Africans. However, resistance from the Africans was strong and revolts frequent.


Each successful revolt fuelled their burning desire to acquire freedom. Resistance to slavery was not only active in the form of revolts but also passive in the form of resisting mental slavery and dehumanization. Once slaves were arrived on the plantation the undertook an orientation process where they were forbidden to practise any the culture they left behind, music, language and religion were all forbidden. They were taught christianty and English by holding on to something that could be used as a constant reminder of who they were which was their culture. The slave masters also attempted to teach the enslaved English but due to the informal way in which the enslaved Africans were forced to learn the language they developed a hybrid form of the language by incorporating words and phrases of their native dialects so as to better understand the language. The enslaved Africans too held on tightly to aspect of their culture such as their music, food and oral tales of the MotherLand, Africa.
Jamaica recently celebrated its 53rd anniversary of independence from Britain on August 6.


Today, we take a brief look back on what Jamaica was like from the mid-1600s to 1962, when the country gained independence. In the wake of the English Civil War, the new Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell sought to expand his domain in the New World. В In 1655, Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables were dispatched to conquer Spanish Santo Domingo (Hispaniola). Having failed to capture the bigger island, and fearing Cromwellвs wrath, the men turned their fleet toward the relatively unprotected Jamaica. Under British rule, Jamaica went from being a Spanish storehouse to one of the most prized Colonial possession of the entire British Empire. В In the early days of the colony, piracy flourished.


Henry Morgan, Calico Jack Rackham, and his wife Anne Bonny were a few of the names that made Port Royal into the richest city of vice in the new world. More noble sea battles were also fought in Jamaican waters. Admirals Horatio Nelson and George Rodney fought many of their most famous battles while based on the island. Port Royalвs days as a pirateвs haven, however, were numbered, and in 1697 a massive earthquake plummeted much of the city into Kingston Harbour. Though the gold the Spanish sought was never found, sugar became Jamaicaвsвand Britainвsвprize commodity. В On the backs of a large population of African slaves, the colony became one of the most important sugar producers in the world. The cruelty of the enslavement and the comparatively small number of the slave masters, however, resulted in a history of rebellion and unrest as African Jamaicans fought the freedom to better their lot. Click here to more.

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