The Missing Middle Class in the Caribbean

This late Nineteenth Century photograph show the descendants of an Irish family deported by Cromwell to exile in Barbados in the 1650s. Barbados was unusual in the Caribbean in that it had a higher proportion of whites to blacks than all the other British colonies. They were still in a minority but not as large a minority as in the others. It is partially due to the existence of a more significant 'Middle Class' on Barbados that it was able to retain its legislative assembly longer than the other islands. This Middle Class was not just made up of poorer Europeans, but was also increasingly made up of mixed race and even some successful black ex-slaves over time.



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by Stephen Luscombe