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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sugar revolution refers to the rapid and extensive changes that took place from 1640 to 1650 in the Lesser Antilles as a result of a change in the primary cash crop. The change in cash crop from tobacco to sugarcane was triggered by factors which included a drop in tobacco prices due to competition from Virginia tobacco and an increase in demand for sugar in Europe among other reasons. This change sparked a shift of revolutionary proportion as the economic, social and political structures were altered significantly. Sugarcane previously planted on small farms was grown in plantations meaning more labor was required. This sparked an increase in the Trans Atlantic slave trade as more and more slave labor was utilized in the sugarcane plantations.

As the sugar business became more profitable, there was an increased demand for land to grow sugarcane. This caused the price of land to also appreciate majorly. In addition to that, population in the islands changed from sparse to dense settlement and the racial constitution of the population also changed to black from white. The European diet and consumption was also significantly changed as a result of sugar supply. Also, the sugar revolution is also stated to have contributed to the industrial revolution. Therefore, the sugar revolution simply refers to the rapid changes that took place during that decade in the 17th century when there was a shift in the primary cash crop to sugar from tobacco in the Lesser Antilles.

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