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VISIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LIFE

From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the economy of the Caribbean was based primarily on plantation agriculture. European traders brought millions of enslaved Africans to the region to produce sugar, tobacco, coffee, cotton and other commodities that were shipped to Europe and North America. The demise of slavery in the Caribbean began with the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 and concluded with emancipation in Cuba in 1886. Another source of plantation labor was indentured workers from Europe, Africa and Asia. Between 1838 (the final year of emancipation in the British colonies) and 1917, colonial governments brought nearly a half million workers from India to the Caribbean.

Given its centrality to the creation of wealth in the Caribbean, agriculture figured prominently in prints and photographs. Publications featured detailed drawings of plants, landscapes of plantations, and illustrations of field labor and production processes in mills. Artists also documented a variety of rural customs and illustrated the life of small-scale Caribbean farmers who operated outside the plantation system. Generally, artists portrayed workers not as distinct individuals but as elements of economic production.

VISIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN
The Exhibit | Overview | Exploration & Colonization | Towns & Cities
Agriculture & Rural Life | Natural History & Disasters | Government & Rebellions | Tourism


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