Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of History and Archaeology
British colonies: The Caribbean
Europe 1450 - 1789 : Encyclopedia of the early modern world Vol. 1
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The British Empire that ended in the twentieth century began at the very end of the sixteenth century with chartered commercial ventures in the East Indies to secure tropical spices and cotton cloth. Peace then allowed further private ventures into the Caribbean (which was called the West Indies) in the early seventeenth century; these expanded into settlements to grow further high-value tropical crops, initially tobacco, later cotton and indigo and then, from the 1640's, sugar cane. With the spread of the plantation economy in the Caribbean after about 1650, the need for cheap labor helped support a booming slave trade. England's new North American colonies then found a ready market for their lumber and foodstuffs. This paper traces these development.....