The Caribbean After Columbus
In the aftermath of Columbus' discovery of the Caribbean Islands the Spaniards sought the best ways to exploit their new territory. Initially, the Spanish concentrated on mining the gold they found on the islands. The gold was soon used up. The Spanish then turned to agriculture. They established large plantations to grow sugar cane, cotton and other crops. They forced the native populations to work for them, at gun point. When too many of the natives died, the Spaniards began importing slaves from Africa to work the plantations.