The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 43, Issue 2

Article 5
A Reassessment of the Provision of Food to Enslaved Persons, with Special Reference to Salted Cod in Barbados

James E. Candow


The provision of salted fish to enslaved persons is widely regarded as the best indicator of planters’ commitment to maintaining the health of their enslaved charges. This article supports the prevailing view that slaveholders recognized the connection between health and fish consumption. However, based on an analysis of purchases of salted cod by Newton Plantation, Barbados, between 1805 and 1837, the article challenges existing scholarly estimates of average fish consumption, and simultaneously disputes Barbadian planters’ claims regarding the amounts of salted cod that they gave to their enslaved people during amelioration.