It is no exaggeration to say that the foundations of the modern globalized world were made of sugar. In the 15th century Europeans first encountered its sweet delights and by the late 1600s sugar growing had taken firm hold in the Caribbean. There are a few factors behind how this product became so popular. These factors are consumer demand, labor, and land. After the discovery of sugar, the demand for it was dramatically high. Consumer demand was crucial to the survival of sugar in the trading business; thanks to the people’s thriving love for the product, sugar began as a competitor against other exotic imports for British preference (Docs. 3 & 4). Sugar consumption had reached 10% of overall food expenses for some English families in the 1700s (Doc. 5). This was beneficial to the Parliament in England; they passed a series of laws dealing with trade which allowed England to gain more wealth and power through the selling of this product (Doc.12).
In order for the sugar to be ready for market it had to go through a long process of preparation. This is where the labor factor comes in. The ones who made this happen were slaves the English merchants purchased in Africa along with a great variety of goods (Docs. 9 & 11). These slaves worked in sugar plantations and boiling-houses located in the Caribbean (Docs. 8 & 10). The process of cultivating sugar cane was tough and exhausting for the slaves, but there was one factor that helped ease the process: the land.
The land played a very important role in what was the success of sugar throughout Europe. The majority of the sugar plantations were located in the Caribbean, where the land was fertile and the climate was perfect for the production of sugar, especially in the island of Jamaica (Docs. 1 & 2). A good environment for sugar production meant more sugar; more sugar meant more produce to sell, and with more sells comes more money. These plantations were usually run as individually owned enterprises by wealthy English families (Doc. 7). In order to be successful, these plantations required certain work houses, shops, a certain amount of slaves and cattle, and so on (Doc. 6).
In the end, all these factors helped the plantation owners gain a great profit. These three factors were what drove the sugar trade. The land helped increase the final profits earned in the trade. Slaves also played a major role here; without them the sugar production would not have been as fast and as successful as it was. Consumer demand, however, was the most important part of what drove the sugar trade. People’s desire for the sweetener only got greater with the increase in population and even nowadays sugar continues to be a big part of our daily lives.
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