History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets

The topic of the Article

The Caribbean and South Atlantic regions tend to experience storms and hurricanes as seasonal threats that cause the destruction of private property, particularly plantations; as a result, in the 18th century, the British owners of agricultural businesses in these areas suffered devastating losses due to weather.

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The Author’s Main Point

The main point of Mathew Mulcahy, the author of the article entitled “Weathering the Storms: Hurricanes and Risk in the British Greater Caribbean”, was to inform the readers about the effects of hurricanes and storms in the region on the activities of plantation owners and their harvests. In the article, the author explored the destructive power of hurricanes and their connection to the dynamics of sugar and rice markets in Great Britain. With no ability to prevent or fight the merciless weather, plantation owners were forced to adjust to the conditions.

Examples the Author Used to Support His Main Point

In order to support his main point, the author provided multiple examples of commentaries made by 17th and 18th-century authors concerning hurricanes. All of them stated that the weather was devastating to crops and other resources and could completely destroy the products of an entire year of hard work. In addition, the author noted that alongside crops and livestock, the raging hurricanes took the lives of many slave laborers who lived and worked at the destroyed plantations.

This tendency posed another significant loss for the agricultural businesses in the area. Mulcahy illustrated his statement about the loss of slave lives with the table demonstrating the account of damage noted in a parish report. According to this document, over 2000 slaves and 6600 heads of cattle were lost in just one year in Barbados (Mulcahy 648). These losses resulted in a significant financial burden for the business owners. Outcomes of similar magnitude were noted in many other historical records which the author cited and referenced in the article.

Another type of evidence used by Mulcahy was letters written by contemporaries of these events who described the effects of the Caribbean and South Atlantic weather on plantations and agriculture in the region. The author mentioned that another devastating consequence of natural disasters was a disruption of the shipping of resources and provisions which added to the losses of British businesses (Mulcahy 660).

Mulcahy also noted that while some of the planters attempted to take measures and protect their harvest and stored goods from the weather, they never succeeded (Mulcahy 653). As a result, only the businesses with significant financial power capable of handling the immense losses remained dominant in the region.

The Types of Evidence Used by the Author

In his examples, the author used historical documents as evidence. By supporting his claims with records of damage suffered by planters in the South Atlantic regions, Mulcahy strengthened the validity of the information outlined in the article. Moreover, the evidence used by the author presented a combination of emotional statements made by various authors of the given period with dry facts and accounts. This combination added to the persuasive effect of the article.

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What I Found Most Interesting

I found the article very informative. In particular, I was fascinated by the relationship between the effects of the Caribbean weather on the plantations and their long-term outcomes. The fluctuations of the rice and sugar markets linked to the losses of harvest were particularly interesting to learn. Additionally, I found it educational to read about the effects hurricanes produced on the agricultural industry in the affected regions by leaving only the most powerful businesses to dominate the markets and wiping put the smaller planters.

Work Cited

Mulcahy, Matthew. “Weathering the Storms: Hurricanes and Risk in the British Greater Caribbean.” The Business History Review, vol. 78, no. 4, 2004, pp. 635-663.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, February 2). History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/history-hurricanes-and-british-sugar-and-rice-markets/

Work Cited

"History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets." StudyCorgi, 2 Feb. 2021, studycorgi.com/history-hurricanes-and-british-sugar-and-rice-markets/.

1. StudyCorgi. "History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets." February 2, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/history-hurricanes-and-british-sugar-and-rice-markets/.


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StudyCorgi. "History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets." February 2, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/history-hurricanes-and-british-sugar-and-rice-markets/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2021. "History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets." February 2, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/history-hurricanes-and-british-sugar-and-rice-markets/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'History: Hurricanes and British Sugar and Rice Markets'. 2 February.

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