Jamaica became a place of plentiful sugar by the 1700’s while their population consisted of mostly slaves. As time progressed the number of sugar plantations progressed as well. “In 1820 there were 2,349 properties in Jamaica of which 1,189 contained over 100 slaves.” On each estate there lied a small world complete with field workers, a hospital, water supply, animals, and its own fuel source. As a part of the Triangular Trade, Jamaican customs and culture were shaped by sugar. Some felt that for two hundred years, Jamaica only existed because of sugar and its role in human habitation. In 1805, Jamaica reached its peak in sugar production—101,600 tons of sugar—making it the world’s leading individual producer of sugar.
When Spanish settlers arrived in 1510, they would soon introduce two things that would be the drive of Jamaica’s future—sugar and slaves. Migrating from South America, the Arawak Indians founded Jamaica around 700A.D. These natives were completely wiped out by the end of the 16th century due to issues as follows: ill treatment, European diseases that had no cure, and physical conditions from hard labor. The average slave would harvest about 6 tons of sugar a day (1).
(1) Tortello, Rebecca. “Jamaica Gleaner : Pieces of the Past:The Arrival Of The Africans.”Jamaica Gleaner News Online. 3 Feb. 2004. Web. 23 Apr. 2012. <http://jamaica-gleaner.com/pages/history/story0059.htm>.