Author

Ainsley Cray

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Avi Chomsky

Abstract

This paper examines the ways in which the environment of Barbados was altered after the founding of an English colony on the island in 1627. The rate and manner of change is addressed, as well as the ecology of the island before English colonization. Before English occupation, Barbados was primarily covered in thick tropical rainforest, and had no human population. Within several decades of settlement, the island was almost exclusively covered in sugar cane plantations, and supported a dense human population. The paper also looks at the consequences of environmental alteration. The change to a plantation ecology made many islanders wealthy and powerful, and made Barbados a major player in the world economy. But the changes made to the island ecosystem also impacted the health and mortality of the inhabitants, the economic growth of the colony, the prevalence of food shortages, and the heavy reliance on slave labor from Africa. Many of these consequences continued even after the 17th century, and some can be seen today.

Department

History

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

COinS