The West Indies and the Southern colonies | AP US History | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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August 26, 2017
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The West Indies and the Southern colonies | AP US History | Khan Academy

TL;DR

British colonies in the Caribbean and the southern part of North America were profitable due to the cultivation of cash crops like sugar and rice, relying heavily on slavery.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why were the Caribbean islands so profitable for English investors?

The Caribbean islands focused on growing sugar, a luxury commodity that fetched high prices. Sugar production was labor-intensive and required a massive initial capital investment.

Q: What were some of the hardships faced by enslaved Africans in the Caribbean?

Enslaved Africans in the Caribbean outnumbered white people, leading plantation owners to establish harsh slave codes, restrict their movement, and deny them legal rights. Violence and death inflicted by slave owners had no repercussions.

Q: How did the plantation colonies in the Caribbean differ from the cotton plantations in Georgia or South Carolina?

The majority of enslaved Africans were sent to the Caribbean, making the plantation experience in the Caribbean more typical. The Caribbean plantation system, reliant on sugar cultivation, resembled the oppression and labor practices found in the southern colonies.

Q: What were the motivations behind the founding of Maryland and Georgia as plantation colonies?

Maryland was founded as a haven for religious freedom for English Catholics, while Georgia was established as a colony for debtors to work off their debts. Slavery was later introduced in Georgia due to economic pressure.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • British colonies in the Americas were not limited to the 13 colonies along the eastern seaboard but also included the profitable Caribbean islands and the southern colonies.

  • The Caribbean islands focused on growing sugar, a labor-intensive cash crop that brought immense wealth to a handful of wealthy plantation owners.

  • The Carolinas shifted from sugar to rice cultivation, relying on West African slaves who had experience working on rice farms.

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