By Richard S. Dunn
Forty years in the past, after ebook of his pathbreaking publication Sugar and Slaves, Richard Dunn begun a thorough research of 2 thousand slaves residing on plantations, one in North the United States and one within the Caribbean. Digging deeply into the records, he has reconstructed the person lives and collective stories of 3 generations of slaves at the Mesopotamia sugar property in Jamaica and the Mount ethereal plantation in tidewater Virginia, to appreciate the starkly diversified kinds slavery may well take. Dunn’s gorgeous success is a wealthy and compelling background of bondage in very varied Atlantic international settings.
From the mid-eighteenth century to emancipation in 1834, existence in Mesopotamia was once formed and stunted by means of lethal paintings regimens, rampant ailment, and dependence at the slave alternate for brand spanking new workers. At Mount ethereal, the place the inhabitants always multiplied until eventually emancipation in 1865, the “surplus” slaves have been offered or moved to far away paintings websites, and households have been usually damaged up. Over 2 hundred of those Virginia slaves have been despatched 8 hundred miles to the Cotton South.
In the genealogies that Dunn has painstakingly assembled, we will hint a Mesopotamia fieldhand via each level of her bondage, and distinction her harsh remedy with the fortunes of her rebellious mulatto son and shrewdpermanent quadroon granddaughter. We tune a Mount ethereal craftworker via a stormy lifetime of interracial intercourse, break out, and relatives breakup. the main points of people’ lives permit us to know the entire adventure of either slave groups as they worked and enjoyed, and finally grew to become free.
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Additional info for A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia
Appendix 1 tabulates the population changes under the elder Barham during the years 1762–1789, followed by the changes under his son’s management during the years 1790–1833. The birth and death ﬁgures drive all of the other numbers. 4 per annum). These totals are by no means complete. Though the Barhams’ bookkeepers kept slave birth and death registers, they never reported abortions or miscarriages and only occasionally reported stillbirths, and they seem to have omitted a large number of infants who died within a few hours or days after birth.
The proportion of young children on the estate was larger than in 1762 or 1789, although still strikingly small. The proportion of older men and women was also greater. In 1833 there were seventy-nine slaves above the age of ﬁ fty, compared with thirty-six in 1789 and thirty-four in 1762. And thirty of the Mesopotamia people—nine men and twentyone women—were over the age of sixty. This increase reﬂects the fact that large numbers of senior slaves had been imported, especially in Mesopotamia versus Mount Airy: The Demographic Contrast 43 1819, but it also suggests that health conditions on the estate were improving.
Furthermore, the gender balance had shifted. By 1833 there were only 157 males as against 172 females, for a sex ratio of 91:100, and the women in the prime ﬁeld gang considerably outnumbered the men. In sum, although Mesopotamia’s population structure in 1833 was quite different from the structure in 1762, we once again see a workforce not very well designed for effective sugar production. In 1832 Joseph II’s eldest son, John Foster Barham (1799–1838), inherited Mesopotamia, but he took no interest in his slaves, since they were on the brink of emancipation.