In 1493, Christopher Columbus introduced cane sugar to the islands of the Caribbean. At that time, sugar was practically unknown to most people in Europe. However, it became so popular later in Europe. There are 3 factors that drove the sugar trade; the demand of sugar, the plantations, and the mercantilism The high demand of sugar was one of the biggest reasons that drove the sugar trade. The sugar became so popular when it arrived Europe, the picture in document 3 that made by E. T, Parris, shows that how much people loved sugar, people were actually extremely crazy about sugar at that time. People loved sugar because it made everything taste much better, especially with tea, coffee, and chocolate. The chart in document 5 shows us the increasing of the demand of sugar. From 1700 to 1730, the population of Britain only increased for about 61,000, but the imports of sugar increased from 28,070,000 pounds to 6,862,000 pounds, and the sugar annual consumption increased for 6.5 pounds per person. From this we can clearly see the high demand of the sugar.
The second reason that drove the sugar trade is plantations, which include lands, climate, and slave. Since people want to make some profits by trading sugar, they need a nice farm and an ideal climate for growing sugar. From the chart in document 2, we can see that Jamaica and Barbados have perfect climate for growing sugar. So this allowed people to make more and more sugar, and get a lot of money from it. At that time, the slave is very cheap, that chart in document 9 shows us that average purchase price of adult male slave on West African coast in 1748 is £14, and the average selling price of adult male slave in the British Caribbean is £32. So, we can see the slave is not expensive at all. This allowed people to get a lot of slaves work on the farm, which meant more sugar produced. From the chart in document 10, we can easily see how much the ton of sugar produced grew in 80 years, because of the growing of slave population.
The last reason that drove the sugar is mercantilism. Merchant saw a wonderful chance to get profits from trading sugar. In document 12, it said, “ the parliament in English passed a series of laws dealing with colonial shipping, trade, manufacturing and money. The point of these laws was to set up a trading system based on was good for the mother country, which called the mercantilism or mercantile system… The result was national wealth that led to national power.” In addition, some of the most power people at that time, like John Goldstone, and William Beckford gained wealth by trading sugar. In conclusion, sugar was not well known in 1493. However the three factors I talked about had driven the sugar trade. Due to these three factors, sugar trade developed so fast and became a huge industry in Europe.
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