Slaves to Sweetness: British and Caribbean Literatures of Sugar (2024)

Online ISBN:

9781846315701

Print ISBN:

9781846311840

Publisher:

Liverpool University Press

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Carl Plasa

Carl Plasa

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Oxford Academic

Published:

1 March 2009

Print ISBN:

9781846311840

Publisher:

Liverpool University Press

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Plasa, Carl, Slaves to Sweetness: British and Caribbean Literatures of Sugar (Liverpool, 2009; online edn, Liverpool Scholarship Online, 20 June 2013), https://doi.org/10.5949/UPO9781846315701, accessed 3 Apr. 2024.

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Abstract

Apparently innocuous, sugar is a substance that brings with it a profound disquiet, not least because of its direct links with the histories of slavery in the New World. These links have long been a source of critical fascination, generating several landmark analyses, ranging from Fernando Ortis' Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (1940) and Noël Deerr's monumental two-volume The History of Sugar (1949–50) to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (1985). The book not only examines the traditional classic studies but also the hitherto largely ignored work produced by a number of expatriate Caribbean authors, both male and female, from the 1980s onwards.

Keywords: sugar, slavery, New World, Caribbean authors, Fernando Ortis, Noël Deerr, Sidney Mintz

Subject

Literary Studies - World

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Slaves to Sweetness: British and Caribbean Literatures of Sugar (2024)

FAQs

What drove the sugar trade dbq answer key? ›

The Sugar Trade was driven by the climates of British colonies, the use of labor and slaves, and the high demand for sugar in Britain. Because of Britain's colonies' land and climates, they were more efficiently producing sugar.

How does the comparison of sugar to honey reveal the author's purpose sugar changed the world? ›

How does the comparison of sugar to honey reveal the authors' purpose? It informs readers that there is a connection between slavery and sugar.

Which text evidence best supports the authors' claim that sugar processing was a long and difficult process? ›

Expert-Verified Answer. Over and over again the liquid had to be strained and purified." is the text evidence best supports the author's claim that sugar processing was a long and difficult process. Hence, option D is correct.

What is the most important point that the authors make in this paragraph sugar plantations? ›

Explanation: The most important point that the authors make in this paragraph is that plantations often were harsh because of the cruelty of those in charge. The paragraph describes the extreme power that masters and overseers had over their slaves, which led to unimaginable cruelty and abuse.

How was sugar connected to slavery? ›

The labor of enslaved Africans was integral to the cultivation of the cane and production of sugar. Slaves toiled in the fields and the boiling houses, supplying the huge amounts of labor that sugar required.

How was sugar the driving force behind all three legs of the triangular trade summarize? ›

Therefore, it was the warm regions of the Americas, such as Jamaica and Louisiana, where large sugar plantations were located. These plantations needed slaves from Africa to work on them. Therefore, sugar was the main engine of the triangle trade on all three sides: supply, demand, and labor.

Why is sugar the connection between slavery and freedom what is the tension or conflict in this connection? ›

Sugar is the connection between slavery and freedom because as the slave trade was increasing to support sugar production, people in countries all over the world were fighting for freedom from leaders and governments that were oppressing them.

Were sugar plantations Violent systems but sugar also led some people to reject slavery? ›

Sugar has been a source of cruelty, from the time of plantations to modern farms. Sugar plantations were violent systems, but sugar also led some people to reject slavery. Sugar workers should reject the idea that anyone owns them and should combat cruelty.

Why is sugar the connection between slavery and freedom support your response with evidence from the text? ›

Sugar was the connection, the tie, between slavery and freedom. In order to create sugar, Europeans and colonists in the Americas destroyed Africans, turned them into objects. Just at that very same moment, Europeans—at home and across the Atlantic—decided that they could no longer stand being objects themselves.

Where did the first slaves on the first sugar plantations in the Caribbean come from? ›

The introduction of sugar cultivation to St Kitts in the 1640s and its subsequent rapid growth led to the development of the plantation economy which depended on the labour of imported enslaved Africans. African slaves became increasingly sought after to work in the unpleasant conditions of heat and humidity.

Why were slaves used on sugar plantations in the eighteenth century? ›

Early sugar plantations made extensive use of slaves because sugar was considered a cash crop that exhibited economies of scale in cultivation; it was most efficiently grown on large plantations with many workers. People from Africa were imported and made to work on the plantations.

What did sugar slaves do? ›

When the cane was ripe, the enslaved workers cut the sugar cane by hand with broad curved machetes and loaded the stems onto carts. Mills were slow and inefficient so during the harvesting season the slaves worked in the mill and boiling house 24 hours a day to process the crop.

Why did the sugar trade start? ›

In 8000 BCE in New Guinea indigenous peoples would chew on sugarcane stalks for sweetness. Cultivation then spread throughout Southeast Asia, China, and India before eventually reaching Europe. For European imperial powers, sugar—known as “white gold”—became an opportunity for economic growth and luxury.

Why was sugar traded in the Columbian Exchange? ›

Of all the commodities in the Atlantic World, sugar proved to be the most important. Indeed, in the colonial era, sugar carried the same economic importance as oil does today. European rivals raced to create sugar plantations in the Americas and fought wars for control of production.

What factors contributed to the sugar trade? ›

The most important factors that drove the Sugar Trade were the availability of the Caribbean Islands to the British, the increasing desire for sugar, England's strong economy, complementary industries (i.e. slave trade), and commercialism.

How did the sugar trade start? ›

In the Mediterranean, sugarcane was possibly brought through the Arab medieval expansion. "Wherever they went, the medieval Arabs brought with them sugar, the product and the technology of its production." Spanish and Portuguese exploration and conquest in the fifteenth century carried sugar south-west of Iberia.

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