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Jamaica’s Plantocracy – Part II

In the following paragraphs, we’ll look at the overall environment of the plantocracy. Later, we’ll take a closer look at the day-to-day activities of slave life on the estates and plantations. I have tried to strike a balance between giving an accurate description of the times and not seeming to apologize for, or to excuse or otherwise condone the behaviour of my slave-owning ancestors. Consequently, I hope I have placed my exploration of the institution of slavery as it was practiced in Jamaica in its proper historical and social contexts.Jamaican slaves worked under appalling circumstances and under constant dread of the whip. I have no doubt the slaves of Jamaica suffered unspeakable cruelty, more than I can express or even imagine. Theirs was no pastoral existence, for they were routinely treated harshly and worked long terribly-hard hours. Harsh corporal punishment was—even for trivial acts—a part of estate life, and slaves sometimes died from wounds inflicted during suc…

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