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Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World 1450-1680 Americas Caribbean & West Indies Barbados Stuart B. Schwartz The University of North Carolina Press


10th July 2013 History Books 0 Comments

“The handiest volume on the subject of sugar. . . . Well produced. . . . Clear, readable prose.”
Businesss History Review

“Breathtaking. . . . Offer[s] stimulating insights. . . . Might produce some stimulating comparative discussion.”
Choice

“A substantial overall contribution to several connected fields. It provides considerably new information.
(Franklin W. Knight, The Johns Hopkins University, author of Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century)”

“Tropical Babylons greatly enhances our understanding of two previously unexplored centuries in the history of sugar.
(Francisco Scarano, University of Wisconsin-Madison)”

This collection of original essays provides a comparative study of early Caribbean sugar economies as well as a revisionist examination of the origins of society and economy in the Atlantic world. Schwartz also examines the role of plantation colonies in the formation of multiracial, oppressive societies.

The idea that sugar, plantations, slavery, and capitalism were all present at the birth of the Atlantic world has long dominated scholarly thinking. In nine original essays by a multinational group of top scholars, Tropical Babylons re-evaluates this so-called “sugar revolution.” The most comprehensive comparative study to date of early Atlantic sugar economies, this collection presents a revisionist examination of the origins of society and economy in the Atlantic world.

Focusing on areas colonized by Spain and Portugal (before the emergence of the Caribbean sugar colonies of England, France, and Holland), these essays show that despite reliance on common knowledge and technology, there were considerable variations in the way sugar was produced. With studies of Iberia, Madeira and the Canary Islands, Hispaniola, Cuba, Brazil, and Barbados, this volume demonstrates the similarities and differences between the plantation colonies, questions the very idea of a sugar revolution, and shows how the specific conditions in each colony influenced the way sugar was produced and the impact of that crop on the formation of “tropical Babylons”–multiracial societies of great oppression.

“The handiest volume on the subject of sugar. . . . Well produced. . . . Clear, readable prose.”
Businesss History Review

“Breathtaking. . . . Offer[s] stimulating insights. . . . Might produce some stimulating comparative discussion.”
Choice

“A substantial overall contribution to several connected fields. It provides considerably new information.

“Tropical Babylons greatly enhances our understanding of two previously unexplored centuries in the history of sugar.

Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680

“Licentious Liberty” in a Brazilian Gold-Mining Region: Slavery, Gender, and Social Control in Eighteenth-Century SabarĂ¡, Minas Gerais

[A] must-read for all those interested in the African Diaspora and Brazilian slavery. –Mary Karasch, Oakland University

The author examines diverse secular and ecclesiastical administrative sources … to portray the social world of the slaves and slave owners of a typical 18th century mining town, with especial focus on religion, patterns of work, and relations between masters and slaves and men and women. Higgins is very attentive to the structural possibilities and limits on people s lives, emphasizing how these differed according to age, sex, race, ability and historical circumstances. –Unknown, British Bulletin of Publications On Latin America, Carribbean, Portugal and Spain

This well-documented book will be widely read not only by historians and students of colonial Brazil but also by a wide range of scholars of New World slave systems and race relations. It will aptly be adopted as a textbook not only for graduate seminars on comparative slavery but also for many undergraduate courses in Brazilian and Latin America history and the African Diaspora studies, in which students will enjoy and learn from the book together with the illuminating Brazilian movie: Xica da Silva. Licentious Liberty indeed helps us understand in what circumstances this ambitious slave woman became a concubine for a Portuguese diamond from Lisbon in early eighteenth-century Minas Gerais. –Mieko Nishida, The Americas –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

To studies of Brazilian slavery this book adds a new dimension by showing how it developed in a region where mining was the chief commercial activity and how important a role gender played in this frontier setting in creating opportunities for slaves to achieve some measure of autonomy, compared with slaves who worked in sugar-cane and coffee-growing areas.The interactions among masters, slaves, and royal officials were profoundly shaped by the accessibility and widespread dispersal of gold deposits, the emergence of small urban centers in which commercial activities thrived, the sexual division of labor among slaves working in mining and commerce, and the changing sex ratio within the population of free white colonists settling in the region.Focusing attention on the changing status, autonomy, and influence of nonwhite women, the author argues, is one of the most effective ways of understanding the economic, demographic, and cultural evolution of the slave society as a whole.

“Licentious Liberty” in a Brazilian Gold-Mining Region: Slavery, Gender, and Social Control in Eighteenth-Century SabarĂ¡, Minas Gerais










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