Trevor Burnard
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From periphery to periphery
The Pennants’ Jamaican plantations and industrialisation in North Wales, 1771–1812
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Richard Pennant, the first Pennant to own the vast Penrhyn estates of North Wales, fits Watkin Williams Wynn's idea of a slave-owner turned industrialist. This chapter examines the contribution that Jamaican wealth made to the realisation of the Pennant dreams. It shows how wealth could be made in the colonies through a combination of hard work, luck and demographic fortune. The chapter illustrates the contributions that colonial money made to British economic development, especially in the peripheries. The Pennants made money in one periphery of empire, eighteenth-century Jamaica and spent it in another periphery, North Wales. Nevertheless, the Pennants were content to maintain the sustainability and profitability of the Jamaican plantations rather than to increase their investment and involvement in the Jamaican economy. Crucial to Eric Williams's thesis in Capitalism and Slavery is that profits from plantation agriculture were invested into the early stages of British industrialisation.

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Wales and the British overseas empire

Interactions and influences, 1650–1830



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