The Sugar Barons Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-11-13
  • Publisher: Walker Books
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To those who travel there today, the West Indies are unspoiled paradise islands. Yet that image conceals a turbulent and shocking history. For some two hundred years after 1650, the West Indies were the strategic center of the Western world's greatest power struggles as Europeans made and lost immense fortunes growing and trading in sugara commodity so lucrative it became known as "white gold." Matthew Parker vividly chronicles how the wealth of her island colonies became the foundation and focus of England's commercial and imperial greatness, underpinning the British economy and ultimately fueling the Industrial Revolution. Yet with the incredible wealth came untold misery: the horror endured by slaves, on whose backs the sugar empire was brutally built; the rampant disease that claimed the lives of one-third of all whites within three years of arrival in the Caribbean; the cruelty, corruption, and decadence of the plantation culture. Broad in scope, rich in detail, The Sugar Baronsfreshly links the histories of Europe, the West Indies, and North America and reveals the full impact of the sugar revolution, the resonance of which is still felt today.

Author Biography

Matthew Parker was born in Central America and spent part of his childhood in the West Indies, acquiring a lifelong fascination with the history of the region. He is the author of Panama Fever, the story of the building of the Panama Canal, and Monte Cassino: The Hardest-Fought Battle of World War II. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Mapsp. vii
Simplified Family Treesp. xii
Chronologyp. xv
Picture Sourcesp. xviii
Introduction 'Hot as Hell, and as Wicked as the Devil'p. 1
The Pioneers
White Gold, 1642p. 9
The First Settlements, 1605-41p. 14
The Sugar Revolution: 'So Noble an Undertaking'p. 32
The Sugar Revolution: 'Most inhuman and barbarous persons'p. 44
The Plantation: Masters and Slavesp. 52
The English Civil War in Barbadosp. 67
The Plantation: Life and Deathp. 76
Cromwell's 'Western Design': Disaster in Hispaniolap. 88
The Invasion of Jamaicap. 97
The Grandees
The Restorationp. 115
Expansion, War and the Rise of the Beckfordsp. 132
'All slaves are enemies'p. 147
The Cousins Henry Drax and Christopher Codringtonp. 161
God's Vengeancep. 169
The Planter at War: Codrington in the Leeward Islandsp. 180
The French Invasion of Jamaicap. 192
Codrington the Younger in the West Indiesp. 197
The Murder of Daniel Parkep. 211
The Beckfords: The Next Generationp. 219
Piracy and Rump. 234
The Maroon War in Jamaica and the War of Jenkins's Earp. 248
Barbados, the 'Civilised Isle'p. 259
Thomas Thistlewood in Jamaica: 'Tonight very lonely and melancholy again'p. 270
Jamaica: Rich and Poorp. 285
The Sugar Lobbyp. 296
The Inheritors
Luxury and Debtp. 311
The War Against Americap. 325
The West Indian 'Nabobs': Absenteeism, Decadence and Declinep. 333
Peace and Freedomp. 345
Epilogue The Sins of the Fathersp. 359
Source Notesp. 365
Select Bibliographyp. 417
Acknowledgementsp. 433
Indexp. 435
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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