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Articles on Plantations

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Workers harvesting crops in a Dutch East Indies’ plantation. Leiden University Library/Wikimedia

Mapping inequality in Dutch colonial-era Indonesia

Economic inequality during the Dutch East Indies era varied radically, depending on where you look. What made the income distribution different from one region to another?
Reconstructed slave cabins at James Madison’s Montpelier in Virginia. Stephen P. Hanna

Modern-day struggle at James Madison’s plantation Montpelier to include the descendants’ voices of the enslaved

Once owned by James Madison, the Montpelier plantation remains a model for presenting a full depiction of the life of the former president as well as the lives of those he enslaved.
Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, approached by a Berber on camelback, from The Catalan Atlas, 1375. Attributed to Abraham Cresques/Bibliothèque Nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons

Book review: how Africa was central to the making of the modern world

Born in Blackness by Howard W. French is a towering work. It argues that, because of gold and slavery, Africa is central to creating the modern world.
These statues of enslaved young boys are part of a modern-day depiction of southern plantation life at the Whitney Museum in Louisiana. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Modern-day culture wars are playing out on historic tours of slaveholding plantations

The romanticized notions of Southern gentility are increasingly at odds with historical reality as the lives, culture and contributions of the enslaved are becoming integral on tours of plantations.
An abolitionist lithograph of the slave trade in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Capitol in the background. Library of Congress

White mobs rioted in Washington in 1848 to defend slaveholders’ rights after 76 Black enslaved people staged an unsuccessful mass escape on a boat

Riots by proslavery forces raged for three days in the nation’s capital after the capture of a ship bearing fugitive enslaved people. The president, a slaveowner himself, tried to calm the city.
BRG could focus on communities to support its peatland restoration efforts in the next term. ANTARA FOTO/Rony Muharrman/aww.

Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency gets an extension despite failing to hit its target: what are the hurdles and next strategies?

Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency is likely to have its tenure extended by four years. What has been achieved and what should the agency focus on for the next term?
By the 17th century, wealthy Britons were already experiencing the delights of expensive sugar confections. Wikimedia Commons

How England became the ‘sweetshop of Europe’

The story of the growth of Britain’s sugar trade can tell us a lot about the development of capitalism and the slave trade.
Jermone Bias and Cheyney McKnight portraying enslaved cooks at Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Virginia, a National Park Service property. National Park Service

Memo from a historian: White ladies cooking in plantation museums are a denial of history

At historic sites across the South, you’ll often find a white woman, dressed in Colonial clothes, cooking in a big house kitchen. That’s a role that was usually done by enslaved Africans.
Avoiding fires in Indonesia’s peatlands should be a common goal of everyone involved. Antara Foto/Jessica Helena Wuysang/ via REUTERS

People, palm oil, pulp and planet: four perspectives on Indonesia’s fire-stricken peatlands

Indonesian peatlands are important to many people: farmers, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and conservationists. But preserving this value for everyone will mean listening to everyone’s concerns.

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