"A Wondrously Fertile Country": Agricultural Diversity and Landscape Change in French Guiana
Author(s): Elizabeth Clay
As a circum-Caribbean, non-island space on the coast of northeastern South America, French Guiana presents a distinct context in which to explore plantation slavery and Caribbean commodity production. The "sugar revolution" that overtook areas of the Caribbean at various historical moments reached French Guiana during the nineteenth century, yet monocultural production of the crop never took hold. Instead, plantations producing a variety of agricultural commodities including cotton, coffee, annatto, and spices were more typical for the region. Using archival, archaeological, and remote sensing evidence, this paper presents an overview of the diversity of agricultural production in 19th c. French Guiana and specifically explores how and why certain commodities destined for foreign markets came to be produced in this marginal space, how their production impacted the daily lives of enslaved Africans and altered local landscapes, and the contemporary legacies of these social and spatial transformations.
Cite this Record
"A Wondrously Fertile Country": Agricultural Diversity and Landscape Change in French Guiana. Elizabeth Clay. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444470)
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min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21839