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Colonialism and Development: Britain and Its Tropical by M. Havinden

By M. Havinden

British colonial rule of the tropics is the severe heritage to modern improvement concerns. This research of Britain's fiscal and political dating with its tropical colonies presents designated analyses of alternate and coverage. The issues of prior successes and screw ups elucidate present possibilities and advancements. No different publication covers this extensive subject with such aspect and readability.

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The more northerly islands were known as the Leewards and the more southerly as the Windwards. 1 only three of these islands supported more than 30,000 people in 1850. These were Antigua in the Leewards and Grenada and St Vincent in the Windwards. According to Trollope, Antigua’s main asset was the possession of a fine harbour: Neither is Antigua remarkable for its beauty. It is approached by an excellent and picturesque harbour, called English Harbour, which in 35 COLONIALISM AND DEVELOPMENT former days was much used by the British navy; indeed I believe it was at one time the headquarters of a naval station.

That the world market would expand proportionately Trollope seemed to have no doubt, and the obsession with sugar continued to dominate British Guiana for many years to come. The towns of New Amsterdam and Georgetown, the capital, impressed Trollope: Georgetown to my eyes is a prepossessing city, flat as the country round it is, and deficient as it is—as are all the West Indies—in anything like architectural pretension. The streets are wide and airy. 23 New Amsterdam, on the other hand, though it impressed Trollope as ‘clean and orderly’ had much decayed in trade owing to a sandbar across the mouth of the river Berbice on which it is situated.

To some extent this problem was lessened when the staple exports were minerals. Being in the tropics obviously made no difference here, (and there were in fact very few colonial minerals which could not be found elsewhere) but even so, at important periods in their history it was difficult to find substitutes for Zambian copper or Malayan tin, and to that extent producers enjoyed some natural protection. The other main feature of the pre-colonial economies was the pronounced shortage (amounting in some cases to virtual absence) of capital and technology.

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