By Abigail L. Swingen
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Extra resources for Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire
THE WEST INDIES, SUGAR, AND INDENTURED SERVITUDE The establishment of unfree labor systems in the Chesapeake colonies directly influenced similar developments in the English West Indies. Efforts to populate these islands started almost as soon as the earliest English settlements were established on Saint Christopher (1624) and Barbados (1627). The Barbados venture was financed by a private trading company operated by Sir Peter and Sir William Courteen, Anglo-Dutch merchants with experience Unfree Labor and the Origins of Empire trading in the Caribbean.
By registering servants, officials could keep better track of just how many people were leaving the country. Edward Thompson’s attempt to revive the registry office in 1689 and Jeaffreson’s difficulties sending convicts to the colonies the previous decade were indications that by the late seventeenth century, the English government was not interested in sending its own people to the colonies. In fact, convict transportation did not become systematized and organized by the state until the passage of the Transportation Act of 1718/19.
3 In addition, they aimed to bring those colonies that refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government under stricter metropolitan commercial, military, and political control. The plans of this merchant group meshed well with those of the Commonwealth government, which had a strong imperialist agenda, including the desire to conquer territory in the Caribbean and the submission of semiautonomous regions within Britain to its authority through land confiscation, forcible settlement, and revenue extraction geared for the benefit of the metropolis.
Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire by Abigail L. Swingen