Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Barbados

Now that we here in the Northeast are officially in the Dead of Winter, some of us are probably thinking of warmer climes as a mental escape.

I've been reading about Barbados for my story. Originally, I had Barbados simply as backstory for my characters and did not research the island at all. But upon revision, I decided that to open the book in Barbados provides a much fuller understanding of the characters, the time period, and it works in technical ways to complete the character arc.

I found a Kindle version of a textbook called The History of Barbados or something similar, but it was hella expensive. Even the Kindle version was well over a hundred bucks. I mean, really, I want thorough information for my book and everything, but that's too much.

So what have I learned about Barbados in the 1790s?

When the British landed on Barbados in 1627, they found an uninhabited island. Barbados was one of the few Caribbean islands that remained in British hands throughout the colonial period.

Sugarcane was the main crop grown on Barbados.

June to November is "the wet season." December to May is the "dry season."

In the late eighteenth century, Barbados was considered to have a good ratio of blacks to whites, in comparison to other West Indian colonies, which were overwhelmingly black with absentee white planters living in Britain.

By the late eighteenth century, a 350 acre plantation with 200 slaves was considered large by Barbadian plantation standards.

After centuries of growing sugarcane, the soil on Barbados was starting to decline in quality and other crops were being grown.



Information I'm still Looking For: 

What was the population of free blacks on Barbados in the 1790s?

When a small plantation folded, if the slaves were freed, what happened to them?

Just general little tidbits on life there at the turn of the nineteenth century. Details always make fiction more realistic.


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