The Domestic Economy of Plantation Slaves in Barbados and Martinique, mid-1600s to mid-1800s

Author(s): Diane E. Wallman; Jerome S. Handler

Year: 2013


The eastern Caribbean islands of Barbados and Martinique, formerly British and French colonies, early developed into lucrative sugar-producing territories. Despite the harsh labor demands of plantation slavery on both islands, during their free time, particularly over the weekends, slaves participated in insular domestic economies. This involved activities (e.g., small-scale farming, fishing, collecting wild foods and animals, craft production) whose products were consumed by households or traded/sold in the internal marketing system for the benefit of the household or individual producer. This paper contributes to the comparative study of plantation slavery in the Caribbean by focusing on a topic not conventionally treated in research on plantation slave life and labor; studies tend to focus on labor activities in the production of sugar and its by-products. We examine various adaptive strategies of enslaved laborers and the development and expression of particular domestic economic practices by integrating ethnohistoric, historic and archaeological evidence.

Cite this Record

The Domestic Economy of Plantation Slaves in Barbados and Martinique, mid-1600s to mid-1800s. Diane E. Wallman, Jerome S. Handler. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428394)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 186