Slave Based Societies in the Caribbean

Slave based societies in the Caribbean developed according to selections from “The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism” slowly as a result of the equal participation of both the masters and the slaves. Usually the color of one’s skin quickly determined which social group and what your occupation would be with of course the darker you are the lower your status and the lighter the higher. Eventually the Africans and whites started to mix and so did the color of the children which made them “not-so-good” field workers.

The slaves of mixed race usually were craftier with the domestic, skilled, and artisanal trades. The Caribbean tended to be pretty urban throughout. The Caribbean had different social groups called caste systems. The 3 caste that developed were the slaves, the free persons of color, and the white people. These caste systems were not static or unmovable which meant that once you were in a certain caste you were not stuck there. If you were a slave you could very much so become a free person of color.

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African slaves that were brought to the Caribbean were called bozales. The Creole’s were slaves that were born in the Caribbean. Among the slaves there were different criteria ranks that were based upon color, sex, and occupation. There were also different “gangs” throughout the slave society. The first gang consisted of the strongest of the slaves both men and women aged from about sixteen to fifty whom all were given the hardest of the assigned labors.

The second gang consisted of weak or elderly men and women who could work but not as hard as the first gang. The third of the gangs which is also called a small gang consisted of the boys and girls who had 3 fairly light work given to them. They were usually six to twelve years of age. These gangs were mixed in and were usually more so like the men did all the hard labor while the women worked but mostly stayed and cared for the children.