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Rise and Fall of an Empire

A Progressive Caribbean

Jerome Teelucksingh

Rise and Fall of an Empire: A Progressive Caribbean emphasizes the significance of literature, media, history, slavery, culture and ideology which helped shape the Caribbean. This interdisciplinary work includes lesser known events, individuals and organizations that have emerged from colonialism and contributed to the foundations of a Caribbean Empire. Furthermore, these personalities and groups made valid contributions to the improvement and betterment of Caribbean societies. There are obvious contradictions within the Caribbean region that denote noteworthy progress whilst other indicators reflect a regression. Undoubtedly, these are features of a dynamic people and stable region that should be considered an Empire.

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2 A Lost Generation: Enslaved Children

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A Lost Generation: Enslaved Children

The historiography of Caribbean slavery focused mostly on the experiences of the enslaved male. In the post-1960s, with a growing interest in gender history, scholars shifted their focus to enslaved females especially their health, fertility, lactation practices, labor and punishment.1 However, the enslaved child received scant attention in gender history, and thus remains, in slavery studies, largely “invisible.” This chapter seeks to help redress this imbalance by investigating the role of enslaved children in the British West Indies. The topics to be addressed include natural increase, immigration, extent of child care, division of child labor and the impact of abolition.

During slavery in the Caribbean, children played a pivotal role in the daily operation of the estate, but they were undervalued by plantation owners. Also, adult slaves largely excluded enslaved children from participation in the rebellions and revolts, common throughout the Caribbean, which were often harshly suppressed by the plantocracy and often led to enslaved children losing one or both parents.

The stories of insurrections, conspiracies and the trauma of enslavement and the Middle Passage would at night or during celebrations be ←23 | 24→graphically recalled for children to appreciate the struggles of ancestors. Children were also told stories of Africa, taught animal folklore, myths, songs, riddles and jokes. Furthermore, on festive occasions, such as weddings, children were exposed to traditional African drumming and dancing.

Incomplete and unreliable statistics make it difficult to accurately estimate the number...

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