chapter  11
Cotton estates and cotton craft production in the colonial-era Caribbean
ByAlan D. Armstrong, Mark W. Hauser
Pages 20

In this chapter, the authors place two spindle whorls, recovered within deposits associated with enslaved African laborers at Bois Cotlette in Dominica, in the context of indigenous and historic cotton production and use in the Caribbean. The authors suggest that enslaved and free blacks produced crafts that served basic needs, such as hammocks, fishing line, netting, and specialized cloth, fulfilled consumers' desires and needs, and shaped emerging fashions within the Caribbean. A study of legal restrictions imposed on the lives of enslaved people can help provide insight into the significance that cotton craft production may have had in threatening or undermining the power structures in place in colonial slave settings. Finally, by thinking about cotton, not only as a cash crop, but also as a source of internal production and exchange, the authors can weave together a more richly intertwined history of the region, tying practices of African laborers in the colonial Caribbean with indigenous forms of knowledge.