Sugar is a very tempting and delightful sweetener to foods used every day, all over the world to satisfy our appetites. One year after Christopher Columbus’s first voyage in 1493, Columbus introduced cane sugar to the islands of the Caribbean. During this time sugar was not known to most people in Europe. That changed soon enough and caused the production of sugar to become a large industry. The sugar trade was driven by land and climate, consumer demand, and the economy.
Land and climate was a major factor in driving the sugar trade. Included in Document 1 is a Colonial Map of the Caribbean. The map presents that most Caribbean land are colonized by the British, French, and Spanish. Referring the map to Document 2, explains that an ideal climate average for the growth of cane sugar is sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit to ninety degrees Fahrenheit which slaves are forcefully working and growing sugar out in the heat.
It is an evident fact the British, French, and Spanish bought this land using slaves in an undesirable climate to grow lots of sugar on their land which pushed the sugar trade. Displayed in Document 6, are requirements of what a sugar plantation of five hundred acres should require. A few of the requirements are a boiling house, distilling house, rum house, and salt provisions. All of these houses on this one large piece of land help advance the sugar trade by the production of sugar all being done in one place. Land and climate drove the sugar trade by having great geography, weather, location, and temperature.
Consumer demand was another main component of advancing the sugar trade. In Document 4, the author Sidney W. Mintz stated, “…all contain stimulants and can be properly classified as drugs (together with tobacco and rum, though clearly different both in effects and addictiveness).” In this quote, the author is referring to tea, coffee, and chocolate, and the use of sugar in them. It is evident that Mintz is using her own opinion which is incorrect.
Mintz is alleging tropical products are as harmful as drugs and alcohol and comparing drugs and alcohol to these tropical products, tropical products are absolutely not as damaging to health. Also, while alcohol and drugs are illegal in some places, tropical products should not be compared to drugs and alcohol like that. The tropical products which include sugar in them despite being addictive, will have a high demand to all consumers. Furthermore, the image shown in Document 3A show children eating sugar out of hogsheads which impound between 700 and 1200 pounds of sugar that trade to the West Indies, displaying demands for the sugar were high.
Also, in Document 3B, Benjamin Mosely states, “…The increased consumption of sugar, and increasing demand for it, exceed all comparison… the influence of sugar, that once touching the nerves of taste no person was ever known to have the power of relinquishing the desire for it.” The addictiveness for sugar was booming. In Document 5 also, the British Sugar Consumption chart shows that as the population was increasing, consumption continued to rise also revealing demand was high being complementary to other products. Consumer demand drove the sugar trade by sugar being an enhancement, sweet, and a complementary to other products.
Furthermore, the economy was one more factor out of the many that helped push the sugar trade. In Document 6, William Belgrove wrote a list of what a sugar plantation of five hundred acres of land required. One of the bias requirements he wrote was, “A proper room to confine disorderly Negroes”. That statement clearly shows racism to innocent slaves. It is evident that Belgrove does not think of slaves as human. Instead of having a room to confine them, he should let them go and should not have brought them to the land in the beginning.
It could be a waste of time and money when you can just grow more sugar to earn money without using slaves. Corresponding with Document 8, a picture is shown displaying slaves working in a boiling house and on a plantation. Just like in Document 6, these slaves are not needed. It is a fact the English believed in life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and that all men are created equal which is stated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
This effects the economy in the sugar trade by using these slaves when buying them for a one time purchase and earning more money out of them growing sugar. Also, in Document 12, author Phillip Roden explains the mercantile system which are laws that let English merchants and manufacturers buy raw materials from the colonies at low prices and then sold them for higher prices, causing to affect their economy remarkably by England gaining more money than losing. The economy drove the sugar trade by mercantilism, slave labor, and demand cost.
Many factors drove the sugar trade such as, land and climate, consumer demand, and economy. The sugar trade and what drove it is significant because sugar is an additive people use and consume every day and the factors of it are what result in everyone having sugar for use in countries everywhere today. Starting from the 1400’s to now, sugar will always be common and important to our world.
Courtney from Study Moose
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