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The social structure of the slave societies in the Caribbean

  • Gad Heuman
Chapter

Abstract

The social structure of the slave societies in the Caribbean can best be understood by examining the complex interplay of race, colour, gender, occupation, caste and class. This is in part because these soci- eties evolved in a similar pattern. Europeans largely destroyed the native Amerindian population, imported Africans as slave labourers, and developed the plantation system. Although slaves formed the backbone of these societies, the other social groups were also significant. Whites not only con- trolled the economies of the Caribbean colonies but also dominated their politics and society. Coloureds, who were originally the offspring of unions between whites and blacks, complicated the social structure. Some were freed and formed an important element in the social structure of these societies.

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Notes

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© UNESCO 2003

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  • Gad Heuman

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