Struggle against slavery was an ever-present and enduring characteristic of Caribbean slave masters, with women being no less resistant than men. Resistance to slavery was a significant part of the lives of female slaves and it took many aspects, ranging from pure revolt to more profound and less aggressive behaviour. On the Caribbean plantation compounds, many Europeans declared women slaves to be more burdensome than men and they often proved to be difficult to dominate for colonialists. Women slaves did not give in to apathy and would deliberately do their work and jobs incorrectly, despite being told repeatedly and instructed on how to do them the correct way. There is evidence from various sources stating women often resisted forced labor, verbally rebelled against slave masters, and fake illness. They also refused to complete their work on time.
The introduction of sugar cultivation to St Kitts in the 1640s and its subsequent rapid growth led to the development of the plantation economy which depended on the labour of imported enslaved Africans. African slaves became increasingly sought after to work in the unpleasant conditions of heat and humidity. European planters thought Africans would be more suited to the conditions than their own local men, as the climate resembled that the climate of their homeland in West Africa. Enslaved Africans were also much less expensive to maintain than indentured European servants or paid wage labourers.
The information found about ordinary women plantation workers and their reactions to slavery are found in plantation journals and punishment lists. Punishments for disobeying colonialists, according data records kept on many plantations, are distinguished between men and women. When male slaves were punished, they take in on average 15 to 20 “swipes” while the common punishment for women included a different periods of time in the stocks or solitary confinement. The punishment for Caribbean slave women...