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The "Better sort" and the "Poorer Sort": Wealth Inequalities, Family Formation and the Economy of Energy on British Caribbean Sugar Plantations, 1750-1807

Author(s): Justin L Roberts

Year: 2013

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Summary

The occupations held by the enslaved on sugar plantations shaped the formation of enslaved families and communities. There was a hierarchy within slave communities on sugar plantations which drew on the occupations slaves held in the working world. Elite slave family groups emerged on plantations and they tended to hold the most privileged work positions and to pass them down to the next generation. Slaves who held the most privileged occupations had more opportunity to earn money, acquire food and goods and build stable families. An economy of energy operated on sugar plantations which kept exhausted field slaves from the levels of independent production that tradesmen and supervisors were able to attain. Although community bonds and ties could offer individual slaves a sense of belonging and identity, economic inequities and social differentiation could sometimes produce oppressive community dynamics. This paper will focus on case studies of three Barbadian sugar plantations.


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Cite this Record

The "Better sort" and the "Poorer Sort": Wealth Inequalities, Family Formation and the Economy of Energy on British Caribbean Sugar Plantations, 1750-1807. Justin L Roberts. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428281)


Keywords

General
Community Poverty Slavery

Geographic Keywords
Canada North America

Temporal Keywords
1750-1807


Spatial Coverage

min long: -141.003; min lat: 41.684 ; max long: -52.617; max lat: 83.113 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 341

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America