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Betty's Hope, Antigua's first full-scale sugar plantation, was so successful that other planters turned from tobacco to sugar.
According to A Brief History of the Caribbean, many West Indian colonists initially tried to use locals as slaves.
These groups succumbed easily to disease and/or malnutrition, and died by the thousands.
The enslaved African adapted better to the new environment and thus became the number one choice of unpaid labour; they also provided medical services and skilled labour, including carpentry, for their masters.
The white population had fallen from 5,000 to below 3,000.
The slaves lived in wretched and overcrowded conditions and could be mistreated or even killed by their owners with impunity.
For a large portion of Antigua history, the island was considered Britain's "Gateway to the Caribbean".
European diseases, malnutrition and slavery eventually destroyed the vast majority of the Caribbean's native population.
There are some differences of opinions as to the relative importance of these causes.
As a result, the Arawak and Carib populated much of the South American and the Caribbean islands. Sir Christopher Codrington, an Englishman, established the first permanent European settlement.
Their descendants live throughout South America, particularly Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. From that point on, Antigua history took a dramatic turn.