Also important was the effect of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, which diverted attention away from the sugar industry, leaving the colonies in a period of economic and social crisis. Slavery became unprofitable. Abolitionists used this fact, as well as moral and humanitarian ' arguments to turn public opinion against slavery.
Graphic Courtesy: Language and Power
On August 1, 1834 all the enslaved people in the British colonies were declared free. Those in the French islands were freed in 1848.
Many of the freed Africans left the plantations for work in towns; others set out on their own forming free villages and producing other crops (such as cocoa and nutmeg in Grenada). Even though some freed slaves stayed on the plantations working for wages, there were not enough labourers to keep up production in the sugar cane fields. So the plantation owners brought indentured labourers from India, Asia, Africa and Europe. Most of these workers signed contracts voluntarily, but were under the control of the plantation owners once they arrived in the Caribbean.
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