Why Did European Countries Colonize the British West Indies and Why Was Sugar Cane an Important Crop?

Back in the 1700s and 1800s, sugar cane was a profitable crop that was easily grown on islands in the Caribbean.

People from Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands first forced native people to work for them, then later brought slave labor from Africa to work on the large plantations they built there.

These plantations produced most of the sugar consumed in Western Europe.

For about one hundred years Barbados was the richest of all the European colonies in the Caribbean region.

Jamaica is one of the world’s leading exporters of alumina, a mineral derived from bauxite ore that is used to make aluminum.