white slaves working the sugar plantations of Crete

I started reading The History of White People, and this was a surprise to me:

Sugar came into medieval western Europe around the year 1000 in a linkage of sugar and colonialism. In a pattern familiar to Americans later on, Venice processed and sold the sugar that Italian, Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish, and Tartar farm laborers (free, slave, and sharecropper) produced primarily in the Venetian colonies of Crete and Cyprus, where cane grew well. After the Black Death of the mid-1300s created a labor shortage, Christian crusader kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean resorted increasingly to enslavement. With increased enslavement of people from the Balkans near the crusader kingdoms of the eastern Adriatic–the European slave coast–the word “Slav” turned into the word “slave.” Faceless masses of slaves from Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Black Sea region grew sugar for western tables until the Turkish conquest disrupted the chain of supply.

In response, the Portuguese started planting sugar in West Africa…

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