The establishment of the village Settlements of British Guiana forms one of the most remarkable phases of the whole of the Caribbean economic development. It has been customary to regard the rise of these freeholds in British Guiana as peculiarly related to the history of that part of the Caribbean. This is, however, wholly to misunderstand the total history of British Caribbean historical change. The economic history of British Guiana is not a separate aspect of Caribbean history: it is part and parcel of the same history.
British Guiana is no more than the underdeveloped southern frontier of the British Caribbean. When the British West Indian islands declined, capital and labour shifted southwards to the outer margins. The sugar plantations of British Guiana were, in the main,
capitalized by speculating West Indians.
The superior fertility of British Guiana's coastal virgin soil, the increased marginal e…