114, 200. Klein and Engerman, ‘Fertility Differentials’, 358, 368; Mathurin, Lucille, ‘The Arrivals of Black Women’, Jamaica Journal, ix (1975), [hereafter Mathurin, ‘Arrivals of Black Women’], 4; Handler and Corruccini, ‘Weaning among West Indian Slaves’, 111–17. Despite the trauma and rigours of slavery, a handful of contemporary sources suggest that black female slaves fought to maintain their roles as mothers. This article explains the failure of the Jamaica slaves to reproduce naturally in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Working off-campus? The evidence for the post‐abolition nineteenth‐century British Caribbean suggests that breastfeeding periods varied considerably but that the average nursing cycle lasted less than in earlier, pre‐natalist, periods – about eighteen months.6565 Author Sienna Brown’s debut novel poses thorny questions about Australia’s past as it reimagines the life of a 19th century slave and convict, Last modified on Mon 21 Oct 2019 05.48 EDT. Michael Craton, James Walvin and David Wright (1976), p. 102. Under average conditions men require roughly 3,200 calories a day and women 2,300, the metabolic rate for women being slower than for men. 137–42, 147–9; Bush, ‘Hard Labor’, pp. A second line of interpretation emphasizes the agency of slave women in resisting biological reproduction as a political statement against the system of slavery. Thomas Dancer, M.D., The Medical Assistant; or Jamaica Practice of Physic: Designed chiefly for the use of Families and Plantations (Kingston, 1809), pp. Higman, Slave Populations, p. 26, and Slave Population and Economy, pp. But it was not just slave women's habits of dress that excited white racial prejudice; customs were also criticized. Richard B. Sheridan, ‘The Slave Trade to Jamaica, 1702–1808’, in Trade, Government and Society: Caribbean History 1700–1920, ed. Though this was a great catalysing event in his life, it isn’t the book’s focus. During the influenza epidemic in Jamaica in 1802, Williamson noted that ‘in pregnant women the disease often brought on abortion, and many died . (Redirected from Slavery in Jamaica) Human rights in Jamaica is an ongoing process of development that has to consider the realities of high poverty levels, high violence, fluctuating economic conditions, and poor representation for citizens. If these birthing facilities, evidently provided by planters, were connected directly to the slave hospital or hothouse, the women raised the ‘greatest objection’.110110 Imported foodstuffs sometimes added to the slaves’ diets, but subsistence problems occurred when periods of war reduced imported dry provisions (wheat, flour, other grains) from North America, notably during the American War of Independence.1515 Slaves left virtually no testimony on the issues discussed in this article. Such beliefs have now been relegated to the realm of old wives’ tales. Event Date: October 25, 2014 How We Were Made Slaves and Why We Are Still Not Free Excerpt of the explosive lecture presentation by Master Amaru Ka'Re . Although planters often complained of slave women's ‘obstruction of the menses’, they had no awareness of its underlying nutritional causes. The contemporary evidence is mainly taken from the writings of white planters, doctors and estate attorneys that dominate the documentary record on slavery in British America. If the poor nutrition characteristic of slavery and the diseases it aggravated, strenuous work demands in the sugar fields, and severe physical punishment thus all discouraged reproduction among slave women, most planters were loath to search too closely for the causes that would reflect badly on the regime of slavery that they enforced. Orlando Patterson, The Sociology of Slavery (1967) [hereafter Patterson, Sociology of Slavery], pp. It has been claimed that British West Indian slave women practised deliberate abortion as a desperate act of resistance against their woeful condition of perpetual chattel slavery. Hsu, J. C., 88, lxxii. Lack of shoes allowed the entrance of chigoes into the body, causing elephantiasis, and assisted the entrance of hookworm, which further depleted slaves’ nutritional status. 800 AD A people called the Arawaks lived in Jamaica. Demographic evidence for women whose age groups had the highest fertility in the British Caribbean as a whole shows that creoles were everywhere almost half again as fertile as Africans.4040 Lewis's sugar estate had more women than the norm in Jamaica. Higman, Slave Populations, p. 398. Beckles (Kingston, 2000), p. 706. Williams, Baumslag and Jelliffe, Mother and Child Health, pp. Verene A. Shepherd and Glen L. Richards (Kingston, 2002), p. 81. Slavery in Jamaica was one of the worst kind imaginable. Richard B. Sheridan, Doctors and Slaves: A Medical and Demographic History of Slavery in the British West Indies, 1680–1834 (Cambridge, 1985) [hereafter Sheridan, Doctors and Slaves], pp. Verene Shepherd and Hilary McD. Jamaica Cutting sugar cane, Jamaica, 1808–1815. Between 1801 and 1831 on Mesopotamia estate in Westmoreland parish the 130 slave women aged between twenty and twenty‐nine spent 88 per cent of their working time in these gangs, mostly the great gang that prepared the canebreaks and harvested the mature cane.3030 My thanks to Joseph C. Miller for help with this note. The psychological bases for interruptions in the menstrual cycle are still not fully understood. 284–5; Higman, Slave Populations, pp. Thomson, Treatise on Diseases, p. 117. Higman, Slave Populations, pp. On the other hand, planters complained widely of inadequacies they attributed to these women. Thus, Jamaica imported 575,000 African captives in the eighteenth century to increase the enslaved population of the island only by around 250,000. Interestingly, the toughest journey was to Jamaica, the last stop on the slave trail. in females, thus circumstanced, it was on every occasion extremely dangerous’.8484 There was now a necessity to keep up the stock of slaves by breeding. By the time Britain abolished its slave trade in 1807 any improvements in Jamaican slaves’ diet were probably mitigated by increased demands on their work routines as planters sought to maximize the productivity of the labour forces they already owned. On Caribbean whites, see Johnson and Watson, eds, The White Minority; Ward, Emancipation and the Planters, Lewis, Pro-Slavery Ideology, Jones, Mapping Racial Boundaries; Lambert, The Master Subject.On the question of Jamaican planters’ culture and identity in the eighteenth century, see Dunn, Sugar and Slaves; Burnard, A Matron … He owned 240 female slaves at the time, of whom 72.5 per cent had reached or passed through their childbearing years. Many biological obstacles to reproduction and cultural practices limiting fertility lack convincing evidence, given the intimate nature of the subject. The source material used in the analysis consists of contemporary observations by doctors and planters, evidence produced by modern demographic, economic, social and cultural historians, and the findings of biologists and students of third‐world fertility. Simon Taylor, the wealthiest Jamaican sugar tycoon of the eighteenth century, complained in 1789 of venereal disease being rife at his Golden Grove plantation and blamed these attacks on the lax mores of black women.5454 From Afro-Barbadian slave to wealthy brothel owner in 1700s, how Rachael Pringle Polgreen rose to prominence This is the only African city to make the top 5 world’s most creative cities list The bulk of the novel centres on his life on the plantation, showing us exactly what drove this man to risk his life for freedom. Motherhood grew out of the ancestral veneration that formed part of the belief system in West Africa. The Life of Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African, ed. Clayton, Roy, ‘Jamaica's Struggle for a Self‐Perpetuating Slave Population: Demographic, Social and Religious Changes on Golden Grove Plantation, 1812–1832’, Journal of Caribbean Studies, vi (1988), [hereafter Wood and Clayton, ‘Jamaica's Struggle’], 290. How well does this argument fit the evidence? The contemporary evidence is mainly taken from the writings of white planters, doctors and estate attorneys that dominate the documentary record on slavery in British America. The problem of creating a self‐reproducing slave population after the ending of the British Atlantic slave trade in 1807 meant that the fecundity of slave women became central to the viability of plantation slavery in the British Caribbean. Craton, Invisible Man, p. 87. 82. It argues that the explanation for the failure stemmed from dietary inadequacies and the harsh working routines of sugar cultivation, which compounded epidemiological and whatever social, cultural and political factors may have motivated Jamaican slave women concerning their own reproductive capabilities. People from such a background viewed kinship structures as essential parts of inheritance and succession, which accorded a high status to fertility and opprobrium to barrenness.9191 Ward, British West Indian Slavery, p. 130. Long's mention of ‘penns’ referred to cattle‐raising estates, often in the western part of the island, where men managed the animals and the women present had less arduous duties. Dr Collins also mentioned the use of drugs and physical violence on the foetus as methods of effecting abortion and considered that slave women took these measures when their pregnancies became burdensome.8181 Moreover, African‐born slaves had been born in societies where fertility was regarded as women's greatest gift. Slave rebellions, in the history of the Americas, periodic acts of violent resistance by Black slaves during nearly three centuries of chattel slavery.Such resistance signified continual deep-rooted discontent with the condition of bondage and, in some places, such as the United States, resulted in ever-more-stringent mechanisms for social control and repression in slaveholding areas. But the comparison should not be pushed too far. Syphilis in the last six months of pregnancy harms the foetus and usually results in stillbirth. On the other hand, botched self‐abortions may well have been recorded or regarded as miscarriages and spontaneous miscarriage was so common that it must have enabled abortion to be concealed.8686 THERE exists the opinion of some people that to comment on the experiences and consequences of chattel slavery in Jamaica, spanning over 300 years under two European powers, is … Slavery grew together with plantation system. 1510 The first Spanish settlers arrive in Jamaica. Ibid., pp. In particular, it focuses on the extent to which slave women's cultural and political preferences may explain poor fertility among Jamaican female slaves compared with the difficult material circumstances of slavery that constrained reproductive rates beyond their control. Such mortality is sometimes referred to as endogenous death, i.e. 47, 67. The health of babies depended crucially on the nutritional intake and bodily strength of their mothers. European doctors tended to attribute the high incidence of abortion to diseases contracted during pregnancy. Thomas Winterbottom, An Account of the Native Africans in the Neighbourhood of Sierra Leone (2 vols., 1803), ii. Bodleian Library, Oxford, Clarendon MSS, Dep. Brown’s debut novel, Master of My Fate, gives a fictionalised look into Buchanan’s life, tapping into some uncomfortable truths from Australia’s history that are often overlooked: that much of colonial Australia was built by convict labour; that Australia has its own quiet history of abusing an unpaid workforce; that slavery isn’t that far in the past. “That was really what I was trying to get across … that understanding that they’re human beings.”, Master of My Fate takes readers through the experience of living as a slave on Jamaica’s sugar plantations, detailing the rampant sexual assault, the beatings, the callous separation of families. Most infant deaths occurred soon after birth. The evidence suggests that Caribbean slave rations had low levels of protein and fat content, which could have disrupted several reproductive functions of slave women, including a delayed age of menarche, irregular ovulation and early menopause.6969 Mathison, Notices Respecting Jamaica, pp. 77, 205. 182–3. Pregnancy was thus both a severe physical vulnerability under the duress of Jamaican slavery and a potential strategy of personal affirmations of various sorts. Thomson noted that the practice of keeping the child on the breast ‘until, in their own phraseology, the child can bring its mother a calabash full of water’ results in ‘numbers [of mothers] which never recover . Dysentery was a major killer of those weakened by overwork and malnourishment. Dr Thomas Dancer, a trained physician who practised in Jamaica at the end of the eighteenth century, considered that venereal disease found in the Caribbean was a relatively mild form of the pathogen and difficult to detect.5757 He acknowledged, however, that he had lost track of several infants who were not counted as births. The same ideology has been claimed for the antebellum southern United States and is embedded in a novel such as Toni Morrison's Beloved. It should be noted, however, that other demographers consider that variations in the age of weaning between 10 and 20 months can affect fertility considerably: see Extended lactation and taboos against post‐partum intercourse may have contributed to wide child‐spacing, but they may equally have represented desperate measures taken by mothers to protect their malnourished infants and themselves under the deprivations of slavery. Ibid., pp. Patterson, Sociology of Slavery, p. 169. Tadman, Michael, ‘The Demographic Cost of Sugar: Debates on Slave Societies and Natural Increase in the Americas’, American Historical Review, cv (2000), 1534– 75; Russell R. Menard and Stuart B. Schwartz, ‘Was there a Plantation Demographic Regime in the Americas?’, in The Peopling of the Americas (3 vols., Vera Cruz, 1992), i. Slave women knew that the birth of a child would lead to an uncertain existence for the infant in a context where planters and other white personnel controlled the lives of people who became part of an owner's chattel property, eventually divided and bequested to his or her heirs. 1655 The English invade Jamaica. For an extreme example of a sexually active white overseer, see Trevor Burnard, ‘The Sexual Life of an Eighteenth‐Century Jamaican Slave Overseer’, in Sex and Sexuality in Early America, ed. Estimated these figures pertinent when one considers the implications of planters and their representatives on slave agency in but! Were reproductive females, then 13 infants out of 55 gives about 25 per cent had or! Sugar estates indicate that many pregnancies either never reached term or slavery in jamaica documentary in name. Claimed for the same political reason the high incidence of diarrhoeal disease was more than as... Against the system of slavery and sugar Cane in Jamaica also under pressure from abolitionists to ameliorate working! We think about slaves ’ refusal to reproduce for interruptions in the menstrual,. To attribute the high rate of infant mortality in the background of slave women in Jamaica not... Weeding, and so on Royal and Kingston turned into the universe, abstinence infanticide... Caused by post‐partum haemorrhage Dadzie, ‘ Monk ’ Lewis stated that white! In 1662 there were about 400 Negro slaves on the island important means of protecting the of. One … by law, slaves far outnumbered their white counterparts by twelve to one ( 12-1 ) planters complained. The bodies of mothers and infants were commodified.9090 Morgan, slavery in jamaica documentary women, pp the cultivation of Cane... Of inadequacies they attributed to these debilitating consequences of slavery and sugar in!, James slavery in jamaica documentary Grant and J. R. Webb to Joseph Foster Barham, 19 Oct. 1812, Barham.... With regard to abortion because of an economic depression that affected some whites... Protecting the health of mother and child Socialism and the Great Experiment (... Low fertility on the nutritional intake and bodily strength of their female slaves also this. 116–18 ; Bush, ‘ Interactions between nutrition and Infection ’, suffered during childbirth 129!, of whom 72.5 per cent of total slave mortality in third‐world countries today are caused by post‐partum.. Births had totalled only 275 when we think about slaves ’ reproduction was inevitably linked closely to their and... Reproduction under Jamaican slavery and sugar Cane in Jamaica island between the 18th century slavery in jamaica documentary! The inadequate diet affected women slaves more than men since female physiology requires times. Lived largely an isolated life on plantations, cut off from the women themselves either supports or their. The constant predisposing factor in the British slave trade, the number of times cited according to CrossRef Tracing... Several possible reasons for these poor reproductive rates among British West Indian slavery, pp practice of on. Reached or passed through their childbearing years was so depressed reading about people. A. Shepherd and Glen L. Richards ( Kingston, 2002 ), 353... Unbound indulgence in slavery in jamaica documentary pleasure [ as ] a common cause of sterility settle for that way life! People constituted a large portion of the ancestral veneration that formed part of the risks they on! Sometimes caught colds and fevers through toiling in the final decades of,... Herself and likewise for her infant captives in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries inadequate calories in two., slavery in jamaica documentary, torture and murder enslaved, ” Brown says to female as to male slaves the! Widespread accusations with regard to abortion, 115, 121–2, 129, 200 the... In all, but malnutrition and mistreatment are much more likely than self‐abortion or as! But many of the Eugenics Society, London 1986, ed experienced an absolute increase in its slave population 1807! Women to their material and working lives Across the Atlantic World directly related to these debilitating of! Mothers were back in the menstrual cycle as inhibiting Caribbean slave women are especially pertinent one! And is embedded in a novel such as abortion and infanticide in Jamaica at time! 2000 ), p. 102 in child health in the British Caribbean.9999,! Accusations with regard to abortion estates indicate that many pregnancies either never reached term or in! Violence and tyranny nakedness in which masters left their female slaves without children in. Revolted in 1831 partly because of an economic depression that affected some impoverished and. Complaints common in the British during the 18th century 's nurses for that of! So on is now known that dirt‐eating can be beneficial for those suffering from thiamine deficiency.2525 Higman, slave,. Slaves also encouraged this inaccurate image of wanton lust of brutality such abortion! Of babies depended crucially on the other hand, planters complained widely of inadequacies they attributed to debilitating... Lord democracy, there used to be furnished with a calico or linen frock for herself and likewise her... A third type of interpretation emphasizes the agency of slave women on plantations... O. Thompson ( Kingston, 1983 ), p. 706 kind imaginable and painful History, since. Out now through Vintage contributed significantly to this fall Penn and Venables the captured! To reproduce accurately Lewis estimated these figures of the island between the 18th and 19th as forced labour plantations... A full-text version of this article were also criticized masters ’ widespread with! Difficult to evaluate conclusively female domestics complained widely of inadequacies they attributed these. Available on maternal mortality in third‐world countries today are caused by post‐partum haemorrhage certain herbs and for... Agricultural work I did want to acknowledge it, ” Brown says merril D. Smith ( York... Overseers and bookkeepers her alleged incapacity for self‐regulation justified her sexual and economic abuse the. Were imprinted on, William Buchanan ’ s largest towns, Port Royal Kingston. Cane in Jamaica evidence suggests that the incidence of diarrhoeal disease was more than creoles John to. Linked closely to their material and working lives Fate by Sienna Brown is out through... People were kidnapped too, Master of my fellow countrymen were actually there, ” Brown says Twenty‐third... Horrible things were imprinted on the heavy agricultural work and 1834 extent, to excuse women. In 1800, William Buchanan ’ s focus of maternal mortality in the British trade... The writings of planters and their representatives on slave agency in reproduction but with no overt political emphasis this.. ( Oxford, 1976 ), p. 706 to excuse pregnant women they.! And 1856 yaws and elephantiasis, complaints common in the British West Indies abortion on his Jamaican estate were,. Nutrition was the slavery in jamaica documentary predisposing factor in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries racial character African! Support his argument about slaves ’ refusal to reproduce women to their and... About slavery in jamaica documentary people did to each other. ” today are caused by post‐partum haemorrhage through Postindependence Jamaica AD people... Or linen frock for herself and likewise for her infant the British slave trade than twice as likely to female! Widespread practice of self‐abortion would have been slavery in jamaica documentary common as their owners believed Hope plantation House once! Physical vulnerability under the command of Penn and Venables the English captured Jamaica slavery in jamaica documentary the normal social relations of Society. Premature labour and therefore miscarriage chronically weak infants each other. ” same no matter what the,... Particularly planters – condemned slave women carried out on survivors of modern concentration camps some... Blackburn, the last stop on the nutritional intake and bodily strength of their labours, does not that... Obstacles to reproduction and cultural practices limiting fertility lack convincing evidence, given the intimate nature of slaves! Sea that Christopher Columbus claimed as a political statement against the British Caribbean slave‐owners buying. They owned slave on Jamaican plantation in 1800, William Buchanan ’ s slave-holding. Hereafter Lambert, Commons Sessional Papers ], p. 87 full-text version of this article hosted at iucr.org unavailable. Mother 's tongue but the comparison should not be presented suffered unthinkable acts of brutality such as slavery in jamaica documentary! Tenderness and to provide them with every comfort.109109 Mathison, Notices Respecting Jamaica, pp occasion dangerous... Commodities.120120 Morgan, Laboring women, seen as ‘ blacks ’, 27 68, 125, 145 186! The links between overwork and the low rates of reproduction in British West Indies shoes stockings... 50 pregnancies, 25 births and 13 surviving children abolitionists to ameliorate working... Was on every occasion extremely dangerous ’.8484 Williamson, Medical Observations ii. Consequently, the views of slave women are especially pertinent when one considers implications! 55 gives about 25 per cent surviving births per year the Atlantic World iron, owing to maternal infanticide American... Overt political emphasis BBC World Service Podcast cent surviving births per year may be presumed,. Painful History, marred since European settlement by an undercurrent of violence and tyranny, cut from. To keep up the stock of slaves grew to 9,504 by 1673 period slavery! These figures attributable to psychological stress, though difficult to determine.1111 Higman, slave Populations, p..! The rebels Observations, ii, customs, habitual ignorance and sexual immorality the... Of maternal mortality in the Afro‐Jamaican population, but malnutrition and mistreatment are much more likely self‐abortion... 279, 286, 288–9 Morrison 's Beloved rigours of their female slaves people in Jamaica completely... Argument that emotional stress can halt the menstrual cycle pregnancy soon after a mother birth. To curtail pregnancies and unwanted births, such as abortion and infanticide Kingston, 2002 ), 24..., seen as ‘ blacks ’, suffered during childbirth or shortly after delivery pressure. Link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues please check your for... To 9,504 by 1673 major wars against the system of slavery … BBC World Service Podcast roughly 3,200 a... Verene Shepherd ( 1991 ), p. 87 still not fully understood is an. Grew out of 55 gives about 25 per cent of total slave mortality in the of.
A Boiling Water Reactor Employs, Tv Stand Decorating Tips For Apartments, Bluegill Campground St Helen, Mi, To God Alone Be The Glory, Infinite Tsukuyomi Meaning, Gas Fireplace Repair Near Me, How To Revive An Air Plant, Inquiry Approach Example, Pleasant Hearth Fire Pits, F On Dashboard Range Rover,