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The Major Reason For the Emancipation of the Slaves In the Spanish Territories.

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CARIBBEAN HISTORY THE MAJOR REASON FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF THE SLAVES IN THE SPANISH TERRITORIES. The Spanish were the last to join in the slave trade. The sudden demand for slaves in the Spanish territories resulted from their agricultural revolution. The revolution took place because of a shift in international market demands, the English occupation of Havana, Cuba in 1765-64, the economic reforms of Charles the 3rd (1759-88), the sudden destruction of the French colony of St.Domingue, and the disruptive wars of Latin America's independence movement. In Cuba and Puerto Rico, slavery lasted for more than 40 years after its abolition in the rest of the Caribbean. I believe that the major reason for the Spanish late arrival in the slave trade was due to the above reasons and that emancipation of slaves in the Spanish territories was economic. One of the major arguments put forward by planters in Cuba was that when the slave trade and slavery was abolished in the British colonies in 1834, sugar production fell. Spanish planters did not intend to allow this to happen to them, especially since Cuba was leading the Caribbean in sugar. ...read more.


Not only could machines save time, but also larger and better production output would increase planters' profits tremendously. Curtailed by the law of March, the Spanish government still searched for ways for the slave trade to continue. The consul-general at Sierra Leone wrote on October 3rd, 1848 that slave traders should throw their papers overboard if caught by any enemy country supporting the abolition of the slave trade. Such a gesture would save the Spanish crown �480 sterling, which was the cost for maintaining Spanish marines off the African coast. In addition, this action would prevent the necessity of punishing those who had violated the law of 1845 and "thereby improving the fortunes of the culprits" (Slave Society in Cuba by Franklin Knight). Even with their efforts, the slave trade became extinct as of 1865. The British placed enormous amounts of pressure on the Spanish government to abolish slavery. In defence, Spanish planters normally pointed at their mentor, the United States of America. However, when slavery was abolished in 1865, they no longer had any excuses. ...read more.


Puerto Rican planters, on the other hand, had stated bluntly that their government was already in the process of organising the class of free, daily paid labourers. Sugar was not the major crop on that island. In that regard, Puerto Rico was unique among the Caribbean. The slave had not gained the economic importance he had in Cuba. Puerto Ricans had failed to see the necessity of maintaining slavery. They sent delegates in 1866 to demand the abolition of slavery on both moral and economic grounds, claiming: No really acceptable reason can be given for its continuation in Puerto Rico. The general wealth of the island does not need it: its disappearance will not affect any productive element and the self- interest of the owners must demand the overthrow of that institution. �From Columbus to Castro By Eric Williams In not placing its sole importance on sugar, Puerto Rico avoided the full force of the economic blow that her Spanish sister, Cuba, later experienced. Slavery in Puerto Rico was abolished in 1870. The economic disadvantages of slavery were therefore the major reason for its abolition in both Puerto Rico and Cuba. Slavery in Cuba was abolished on October 7, 1886. ...read more.

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