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Barbados

1998 Barbados

According to Countryaah, the nomadic people of the Arawaks live scattered across the Caribbean, and although the Caribbean people drove them from several islands, the Arawaks nevertheless managed to "get stuck" on some islands, including Barbados.

In the early 16th century, the Spaniards arrived on the island, which they named "de las Higueras Barbadas". Convinced that no riches of any kind existed, the Spaniards left the island again, though not before massive massacres had been inflicted on the residents. The few who survived were brought to the Spanish court as amusement for the nobility. When the English occupied the island in 1625, they found it uninhabited.

Until 1640, about 30,000 residents lived on the island. The majority were poultry farmers who had settled here with their families. Of these, a large number of people had fled the political and religious persecution they had faced in England and Ireland. These smaller landowners cultivated tobacco, cotton, pepper, and moisture; besides cattle, swine and poultry breeding.

The introduction of sugar cane led to widespread social upheaval. The plantation owners needed extensive land as the new crop, to be profitable, required large areas. The smaller landowners, who, for the most part, were deeply indebted, did not hesitate to dispose of their land. Here began the importation of African slaves.

In 1667, 2,000 small farmers emigrated to other Caribbean islands or to the British colonies of North America. According to testimony from a French traveler, dated to 1696, the island possessed a merchant fleet of 600 ships, making it "the most powerful colony among the American islands".

By the end of the 18th century, the island had already been transformed into one large sugar refinery with 745 plantations and more than 80,000 African slaves. Of this island, described by a 16th-century historian as "completely covered in forest", not much was left; the ecological balance had been decisively affected to a point where deforestation and extensive drought periods were witnessed already in the early 19th century.

The hunt for better returns and the opening up of the foreign capital economy brought the underdevelopment to Barbados, which could have had a development process similar to the British colonies in North America.

 

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