Speech and Slavery in the West Indies

Slavery was foundational to Britain’s prosperity and rise to global power. Throughout the eighteenth century the empire’s epicenter lay not in North America, Africa, or India but in a handful of small sugar-producing Caribbean islands. The two most important—tiny Barbados and its larger, distant neighbor Jamaica—were among the most profitable places on earth. On the eve of the American Revolution, the nominal wealth of an average white person was £42 in England and £60 in North America. In Jamaica, it was £2,200. Immense fortunes were made there and poured unceasingly back to Britain.
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