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have to bear its share of any extra taxation ... necessary to make good any loss of revenue due to the establishment of the preference.”

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1 Canada-West Indies Conference, Ottawa, 1918, p. 102.







THIRD in commercial importance among the single islands of the British West Indies is Barbados. Its foreign trade is rather less than one-half as great as that of Jamaica and slightly more than one-fourth that of Trinidad. Like Jamaica, it is essentially a black colony and, in recent years, conditions of employment have not been favorable. The island exported to Panama many of its laborers to help in the construction of the canal. Like Jamaica, too, its history has been closely bound up with sugar production, but unlike the larger island the changes in the industry have not caused the abandonment of the plantations or their adaptation to other uses. Barbados was long ago a sugar colony. In fact, it was the first successful sugar colony of Great Britain in the West Indies and a sugar colony it is today.

In many ways it is the most interesting of the smaller British-American possessions. Its high state of cultivation, its picturesque landscapes, its well kept plantations, on which steam-driven machinery has even yet displaced only in minor degree the enormous windmills for grinding sugar cane, all combine to make it a favorite resort for tourists from both Americas.

Unlike certain other British West Indies, Barbados has not found the United States the best market for its goods. The sugar tariffs heretofore have turned the shipments to British ports, especially to British North America. The United States takes less than a tenth of the exports, the only important item being molasses.

In the imports of the island our trade holds a more important place. In recent years we have furnished between a fourth and a third of the total. We market there more than twice as much as the British North American colonies and almost four-fifths as much as the United Kingdom. The chief articles now sent are ones which regularly figure largely in our West Indian trade, namely, provisions and coal. Furthermore, there is little opportunity for trade expansion in Barbados. It has been intensively cultivated for a century, and increased sales can come only with a rise in the standard of life and improved manufacturing methods. Nevertheless, it is not encouraging to find the United States steadily losing in the percentage of the trade handled. We formerly furnished practically all of the horses, mules, corn, oats, and flour. Argentina and Uruguay are now supplying the animals and Canada is cutting into the foodstuffs trade. Canada has the advantage of a subsidized line of steamships and since June 2, 1913,

* Commerce Reports, Supplement, September 4, 1915, and Daily Consular and Trade Reports, December 16, 1914.

* Daily Consular and Trade Reports, October 24, 1914, and December 16, 1914.

has a tariff preferential of 20 per cent. on some competing articles and 24 cents per barrel on flour. Our exports to Barbados, therefore, seem not likely to prosper.

Barbadian cane products have recently shown a tendency to rearrange their order of importance. Sugar, formerly the mainstay, now occupies a less important position. With trifling exceptions, only the lightbrown grade is produced and the greater bulk of it is shipped out of the country for refining. Rum production, once an important by-product, is now declining, due to causes elsewhere discussed. Molasses, however, has in some recent years raised itself from the position of a by-product to the most important individual item of export. Barbados, in fact, should perhaps be called a molasses island rather than a sugar island.


In the same region as Barbados, and sometimes treated with that colony as a single group, are the Windward Islands, consisting of Grenada, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia. In a general way, the group skirts the eastern rim of the Caribbean Sea from the French colony of Martinique to Trinidad. All are essentially black colonies. The three larger islands' together are next to Barbados in commercial importance and are all markedly dependent on single crops.

1 The following statistics, compiled from the Statesman's YearBook, 1914, show their importance:



Acres under Cultivation

sq. miles

St. Vincent.
St. Lucia..


66,750 (1911)
41,877 (1911)
48,637 (1911)

30,200 (1912)

Grenada, the most populous and most thickly settled, was formerly important in the growing of sugar cane, but its production and that of the by-product, rum, are both now decreasing. The island is readjusting itself to new economic conditions. The cocoa trade is

growing and the production of spices is important. In fact, cocoa promises to be the big crop of the future in the entire group, as is already the case in the neighboring colony of Trinidad. It is already the greatest crop of Grenada. One of the West Indian representatives in the Canadian Tariff Conference declared the island

produced “almost nothing else” and in St. Lucia it is almost as important as the sugar crop."

Historically, St. Lucia has played a much more important part than its resources indicate. It was the scene of an early dispute over possession between France and England, and it was long an important British naval base from which watch was kept upon the French ships stationed at Port Royal, Martinique. Now it has settled down to an uneventful reliance on sugar, cocoa and

Its garrison has been withdrawn and the British fleets no longer enliven its harbor. Its black population is unenterprising, and under present conditions there seems to be no great future for the colony.

St. Vincent is famous because especially suited to the growth of sea island cotton. It is claimed that the best

1 Canada-West Indies Conference, Ottawa, 1913, p. 27. Of the exports valued in 1911 at $1,267,871 cocoa accounted for $1,085,736. Daily Consular and Trade Reports, November 5, 1913.


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