Disadvantages of dating a westindian women
Others have countered that it is more appropriate to examine the frequently revolutionary actions of enslaved people themselves, whose '200 Years' War' against slavery, as Barbadian historian Hilary Beckles describes it, ultimately increased the economic and political costs of that system to the point where it could no longer be sustained.(2) On both sides, the emphasis has largely been on men, despite some efforts to include a token woman or two: a Hannah More here, a Nanny or a Mary Prince there.In order to understand the impact of abolition, we need to appreciate something of the context of enslaved women's lives in the Caribbean colonies before the end of the slave trade.For most women who endured it, the experience of the Atlantic slave trade was one of being outnumbered by men.Indeed, as the future of slavery looked uncertain, slaveowners became increasingly concerned to extract as much labour from the enslaved people over whom they claimed ownership, while that ownership was still legally recognized.Many estates by this time were severely indebted, and the need to service debt produced an additional drive to maintain productivity from the owners' point of view.Roughly one African woman was carried across the Atlantic for every two men. The captains of slave ships were usually instructed to buy as high a proportion of men as they could, because men could be sold for more in the Americas.(3) Women thus arrived in the American colonies as a minority.
About sixty per cent of all enslaved people in the Caribbean lived on sugar estates.What about the men and women who lived through slavery without taking up arms against it?Their experience was the norm for slave societies and, I would argue, is as important, as interesting and as full of political struggle as the lives of those who became rebels.In anticipation of abolition, the 1790s saw very high rates of slave imports: British ships brought more than 400,000 Africans across the Atlantic in that single decade, mostly to the Caribbean. (10) Despite this frenzy of slave purchasing in advance of the abolition of the slave trade, population decline continued after 1807.Yet the labour demands made on enslaved people did not decrease.
This essay focuses on the everyday lives of enslaved people, especially enslaved women, in the British colonies in the Caribbean, and asks what difference the abolition of the slave trade meant to them.