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2 Lecture 34 the West Indies. The plantation system, where major crops were both grown and processed for export, was an important innovation in agriculture. Unfortunately, this led to the reinvigoration of slavery, especially black slaves from Africa, resulting in the mass importation of Africans against their will into the New World. The valuable Sugar Islands in the West Indies were to contribute to major con fl icts between European pow- ers for control of the Americas. The Portuguese fi rst came to Recife in northeastern Brazil in the 16 th century. Large land grants estab- lished plantations along the coast 150 miles wide and as far West as could be controlled. Sugar was familiar to the Portuguese who were cultivating it in the Azores, Madeira, and Capo Verde, islands off the African coast and discovered by the Portuguese in the 15 th century. The crop was well suited to the lowland tropical coast of Northeast Brazil but the crop does even better with a drier season, and so, at present, sugarcane has moved to savanna climates (grassland types, summer wet, winter dry) in the South. The largest production is now in Sao Paolo state).
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