The Island of Nevis
The island of Nevis is just one of the many islands in the Caribbean that proved useful to Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries. The climate throughout the Caribbean and southern areas of the USA proved to be excellent for cultivating new money-making crops such as sugar cane, tobacco and cotton. The volcanic soil, rich in nutrients, meant that crops grew quickly. Sometimes more than one crop could be harvested in a year. Here on Nevis men from the west country of England set up small plantations growing sugar cane. Indentured labourers went out to work on the plantations, under contract for a fixed number of years. Convicted criminals, such as Azariah Pinney, chose a term of exile on the islands instead of more serious punishments. Work on the plantations was very hard and with the heat and new diseases, such as malaria, many died. In the French areas of the neighbouring island of St Kitts, by 1625, the French were already making use of slaves from Africa; the English did not take long to follow their lead.