La Guadeloupe en Traduction

Le blog bilangue d'une traductrice du français vers l'anglais en Guadeloupe

Vocabulaire d’Outre-Mer : Canne à sucre

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Beautiran trail, Guadeloupe

Encore une entrée du « Vocabulaire d’Outre-Mer » du Monde.

Another entry from Le Monde’s “Vocabulaire d’Outre-Mer”:

Sugar cane

Native to Asia, this plant is cultivated for its stalk, from which sugar is extracted. In the Middle Ages, sugar was bought and sold in Europe by the Italian trading cities of Genoa and Venice, imported at first from Asia and then produced domestically on Mediterranean islands. Sugar cane was subsequently imported to the West Indies, starting from the second voyage of Christopher Columbus, in 1493. Since the climate was highly favorable to the cultivation of cane, production spread quickly throughout the region. The backbreaking and onerous work of growing cane required a large servile workforce. The transatlantic slave trade developed to meet this demand. “Sugar would be too expensive, if we didn’t grow the cane with slaves,” remarked Montesquieu in “The Spirit of the Laws.” The cultivation of cane brings enormous wealth to the colonies. However, following the British blockade that cuts ties between metropolitan France and the West Indies during the Napoleonic era, sugar extracted from beets, which is less flavorful but less expensive, captures the European market. This competition plunges the sugar-producing colonies into a period of stagnation, and government authorities decide to maintain the monoculture of sugar, preventing the colonies from gaining self-sufficiency that could have offered a path to independence.

Written by May

July 15th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

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