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Tropical Babylons

Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680

Stuart B. Schwartz

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: The University of North Carolina Press
Published: 01/2011
Pages: 368
Subject: History | University of North Carolina
Print ISBN: 9.78E+12
eBook ISBN: 9780807895627


The idea that sugar, plantations, slavery, and capitalism were all present at the birth of the Atlantic world has long dominated scholarly thinking. In nine original essays by a multinational group of top scholars, Tropical Babylons re-evaluates this so-called "sugar revolution." The most comprehensive comparative study to date of early Atlantic sugar economies, this collection presents a revisionist examination of the origins of society and economy in the Atlantic world.

Focusing on areas colonized by Spain and Portugal (before the emergence of the Caribbean sugar colonies of England, France, and Holland), these essays show that despite reliance on common knowledge and technology, there were considerable variations in the way sugar was produced. With studies of Iberia, Madeira and the Canary Islands, Hispaniola, Cuba, Brazil, and Barbados, this volume demonstrates the similarities and differences between the plantation colonies, questions the very idea of a sugar revolution, and shows how the specific conditions in each colony influenced the way sugar was produced and the impact of that crop on the formation of "tropical Babylons--multiracial societies of great oppression.

Alejandro de la Fuente, University of Pittsburgh
Herbert Klein, Columbia University
John J. McCusker, Trinity University
Russell R. Menard, University of Minnesota
William D. Phillips Jr., University of Minnesota
Genaro Rodriguez Morel, Seville, Spain
Stuart B. Schwartz, Yale University
Eddy Stols, Leuven University, Belgium
Alberto Vieira, Centro de Estudos Atlanticos, Madeira