History of the British West Indies

History Of The British West Indies

History of the British West Indies

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The term British West Indies refers to the former colonies and present possessions of the United Kingdom in the Caribbean.

In the history of the British West Indies there have been several attempts at political unions. These attempts occurred over a period of more than 300 years, from 1627 to 1958, and were carried out, or sometimes imposed, first by the English and then the British government. During this time, some of the attempted unions were true federations of colonies and others involved attaching various colonies to a major, nearby colony for the purposes of cheaper, efficient government or because the attached colonies were too small to justify a separate government. The initial federal attempts never went so far as to try to encompass all of the British West Indies (BWI), but were more regional in scope. The historical regional groupings were the British Leeward Islands, British Windward Islands and Jamaica with nearby colonies.

Reasons for failure of regional groupings

Many of these attempts at regional unification were met with opposition from influential groups within the colonies (usually planters) and sometimes by opposition from the wealthier colonies. Often the colonies competed with each other to supply sugar and other cash crops (such as bananas) to the United Kingdom and this air of rivalry contributed to the opposition displayed with the colonies to a regional colonial federation. In addition, communication links and travel links between the colonies...
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