From the late eighteenth century, the planter class of the British Caribbean were faced with challenges stemming from revolutions, war, the rise of abolitionism and social change. By the nineteenth century, this once powerful group within the British Empire found itself struggling to influence an increasingly hostile government in London. By 1807, parliament had voted to abolish the slave trade: an early episode in a wider drama of decline for New World plantation economies. This book brings together chapters by a group of leading scholars to rethink the question of the ‘fall of the planter class’, offering a variety of new approaches to the topic, encompassing economic, political, cultural, and social history and providing a significant new contribution to our rapidly evolving understanding of the end of slavery in the British Atlantic empire. This book was originally published as a special issue of Atlantic Studies.
1. Rethinking the fall of the planter class 2. Et in Arcadia ego: West Indian planters in glory, 1674–1784 3. Sugar, spirits, and fodder: The London West India interest and the glut of 1807–154. The rise of a new planter class? Some countercurrents from British Guiana and Trinidad, 1807–33 5. Gluttony, excess, and the fall of the planter class in the British Caribbean 6. The decline of Jamaica’s interracial households and the fall of the planter class, 1733–1823