Thursday, May 27, 2010

Barbados, The African Slave Trade and the Sugar Industry Part 8


Emancipation was drawing nearer and much was changing. The cost of producing sugar and shipping it was greater than the average price sometimes paid for the product. There was increased competition from; Cuba, Brazil, St Lucia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. The increase in the quantity of sugar being produced in the combined British Territories drove the prices down. Beet sugar was also starting to compete for a share of the market. Brittan also stopped purchasing Barbados Molasses for use in their distilleries. These changed caused the planters to become very anxious. The Island that was once nearly covered in Sugar cane field now started to use some of its fields to produce provision crops and this helped to save on the high cost of the imported food.


Aside from the above challenges a devastating hurricane hit the Island in 1831. The Hurricane brought heavy losses and the amount of damage done was estimated over £1,600.000

Emancipationists grew frustrated that nothing was being done to improve slave conditionals and in 1830 they called upon the British Government to free all slaves by an act of parliament. The reaction in the West Indies was predictable the planters complained that their rights were being destroyed; sadly they could not see that they had long abused the rights of those they enslaved. Many riots broke out in the Caribbean like the one that had broken out in Barbados and just as many proclamations were made to try to ease the anxiety of the time. In the end however the voice of reason prevailed. Emancipation was a social revolution of great magnitude. The Anglican Church was revitalised by Bishop Coleridge in Barbados and other territories played their part in ushering in a new order.

In 1833 it voted to abolish slavery in all British territories, including Barbados, where an estimated 83,150 slaves were emancipated. To ease the burden of abolition on white planters, Great Britain imposed a program known as apprenticeship which I will discuss at another time

On the day of emancipation Bishop wrote: "800,000 human beings lay down last night as slaves and worse this morning as free as ourselves. It might have been expected that on such an occasion there would have been an outburst of public feeling. I was present but there was no gathering that affected public peace. There was a gathering of old and young in the House of Common father of all. It was my particular happiness on that ever memorable day to address a congregation of nearly 4,000 people to whom more than 3,000 were negros just emancipated. And such was the order, the deep attention, and perfect silence, that you might have heard a pin drop."

Those who were once slaves were now free and they had their own way of celebrating the occasion. They danced and they sang, in fact they sand one song in particular:




Lick and Lock-up
The Queen come from England
To set me free
Now lick and lock-up done wid
Hurrah for Jin-Jin ( Queen Victoria)

Chorus

Lick and lock-up done wid
Hurrah for Jin-Jin
Lick and lock-up done wid
Hurrah for Jin-Jin

They sell me muddah fuh six bit piece
Hurrah for Jin-Jin
Now lick and lock-up done wid.
Hurrah for Jin Jin

God bless de Queen fuh set we free
Hurrah for Jin-Jin
Now lick and lock-up done wid
Hurrah for Jin-Jin


Provided with the compliments of your friends at Glory Tours. The #1 Provider of Sightseeing Tours in Barbados http://glorytours.org/

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