Port Henderson (New Brighton)
Castries (Petit Carenage)
Grand Cul-du-Sac Bay
Gros Islet (Rodney Bay)
Moule à Chique
Pigeon Island National Park
The Caribbean was a major theater of the American Revolutionary War. This was because the islands were economically important as the principal market for the slave trade in the Americas and as the primary source of sugar and rum consumed in Europe and America. Furthermore, they were divided among the colonial powers of Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, which were all belligerents at some stage of the Revolutionary War. The French, Spanish, and Dutch islands were vital sources of the military supplies and gunpowder that sustained the Continental army. The American flag was first saluted in the Danish and Dutch islands of the Caribbean. American privateers swarmed these seas and were likened to an infestation of fleas by the British.
The Caribbean was also the location of critical naval battles that had major implications for the war in North America, and the defense of the British colonies in the Caribbean deflected military resources from the British commanders in America. The islands were all variously affected by the war, with large-scale military preparations and economic disruption. However, the small islands of the eastern Caribbean were the scenes of the most dramatic military events, and are therefore given particular consideration here. American Loyalists from Georgia and South Carolina settled in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Belize. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Crispus Attucks, and John Paul Jones all spent time in the Caribbean before 1776. The war’s surviving relics in the Caribbean convey the interconnection between the history of the islands and the revolutionary history of the United States.
Antigua was a British colony between 1632 and 1981. The 108-square-mile island had close ties with America before the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin sent his nephew, Benjamin Meacom, to set up a printing press in Antigua. The captain of one of the ships whose cargo was destroyed in the Boston Tea Party was involved in a bar fight in Antigua after leaving Boston. The island had relied on food imports from North America before 1775, and the war caused severe shortages that led to the deaths of an estimated one-fifth of the slave population. Antigua led the other Caribbean islands, together with Tortola, in fitting out privateers against the Americans, beginning with the sloop Reprisal, which had captured three American vessels by January 1777, and whose owners declared that they were “zealously disposed to assist in reducing his Majesty’s rebellious colonies in America to lawfull obedience.” Antigua alone among the British Leeward Islands escaped conquest by the French. Its defense was a high priority owing to the presence of English Harbour, which was the main British naval base in the eastern Caribbean. Like Virginia, Antigua had strong royalist ties during the English Civil War, and the local rum is called “Cavalier.”
Clarence House, overlooking English Habour, was built for Prince William Henry, a younger son of George III who later became duke of Clarence and King William IV. He had served in the Caribbean and visited New York during the American Revolution. He was captain of the Pegasus when he visited Antigua in 1787. Clarence House is now the official residence of the governor-general of Antigua, and it is open to visitors when he is not in residence.
Falmouth is at the foot of Monk’s Hill. St. Paul‘s Church has a graveyard with the tomb of the Honorable James Charles Pitt, son of the earl of Chatham and commander of H.M.S Hornet, who died at the age of twenty at English Harbour on 13 November 1780. The epitaph reads: “The genius that inspired / and the virtues that adorned the parent / were revived in the son / whose dawning merit / bespoke a meridian splendor / worthy of the name Pitt.” St. Paul‘s, originally fortified in 1676, was the first church building on the island. It doubled as a courthouse.
Fig Tree Hill commands views of Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts.
Fort Barrington on Goat Hill is on the promontory at the northern beach side of Deep Bay. It was named after Admiral Sir Samuel Barrington and was completed on the site of an earlier structure in 1779. It was a signal station which reported movements of ships by flag and light signals to Rat Island. It has views of St. John’s Harbour, St. Kitts, and Nevis. It is accessible via Five Islands near the Royal Antiguan Resort.
Fort James is on a promontory at the northern end of St. John’s, and was first fortified in 1704 to 1705. It contained barracks for about seventy-five men for the regiment of British troops stationed on the island since the 1730s. The walls are in good condition and there is a kitchen building with a seventeenth-century open-fire range. Ten of the original cannon with 5.5-inch bores remain. They weigh 2.5 tons, have a range of 100 yards, and fired 4-pound shot. They were manned by a team of twelve. The fort commands an extensive view of the harbor of St. John’s. It can be reached from Fort Road.
Monks Hill and Fort George overlook English Harbour and Falmouth. The fortress was erected on the 669-foot summit of the hill between 1689 and 1705. The outer walls surrounded an area of about 7 acres which were intended as a refuge for the inhabitants in the event of an invasion. They are largely intact, together with the ruins of powder magazines, including the west magazine built in 1731, the original gun sites for thirty-two cannon, a water cistern, and a stone inscription to King George II. It was too large and exposed to be defended as a regular fort. It is accessible by car by following signs from Liberta off the main road through the village of Table Hill Gordon. It can also be reached by foot from Cobbs Cross at Falmouth Harbour. Further west is the fort on Johnstone Point.
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park at English Harbour was perfectly situated—in landlocked basins formed from a volcano cone—to afford ships protection. It was used by the Royal Navy to refit, careen, and shelter warships between 1725 and 1889. It was expanded during the American Revolution to become the primary British base in the eastern Caribbean, and occasionally it repaired ships from the British fleet in North America during the Revolutionary War. It was more important than Port Royal at Jamaica because of the location and the prevailing wind directions from east to west. It is today a wonderfully preserved Georgian dockyard built principally between 1778 and 1792 that includes the Copper and Lumber Store (1789); the Capstan House; the Boat and Joiner’s Loft (1778); the Cordage and Canvas Store (1778–1784); the Seaman’s Galley (1778); and the Saw Pit and Saw Pit Cabin (1769). Among the many artisans who worked at the dockyard was a caulker called John Baxter who arrived from Chatham in 1778 and opened the first Methodist Chapel in Antigua in 1783. Horatio Nelson spent time here while he commanded H.M.S. Boreas on the Leeward Island Station between 1784 and 1787. There is a museum with an emphasis on naval history at the Admiral’s House at Nelson’s Dockyard and an interpretation center at Dow’s Hill which also offers a panoramic view of Nelson’s Dockyard. The ruins of Fort Berkley are located on the long spit at the other end of the harbor which it protected. Fort Charlotte was built to the north of Fort Berkeley in 1745.
Plantation Houses. Betty’s Hope, south of the village of Pares in the parish of St. Peter, was established in about 1674 and was owned for three hundred years by the Codrington family of Gloucestershire in England. The word “hope” meant an enclosed piece of land, and Betty’s Hope was named after the daughter of the founder, Sir Christopher Codrington. It is a restored plantation which includes a working seventeenth-century windmill together with exhibits and demonstrations of the manufacture of sugar and rum. The Codrington family also owned the neighboring island of Barbuda, where their slaves grew provisions for their plantations in Antigua. Parham Hill Plantation’s great house dates from 1722.
Rat Island in St. John’s Harbour is joined to the mainland by an isthmus. It was first fortified in 1741 and contained barracks for the regular British army regiment stationed on the island from the 1730s.
St. John’s, Antigua’s capital, is situated in the north of the leeward coast at the head of a harbor with the same name. It was defended on the south by Fort Barrington and the north by Fort James, and also by the fortifications on Rat Island. The walls are in good condition and some guns remain. The Old Court House on Long and Market Streets was built in 1747 and was designed by the English-born American architect Peter Harrison. It was extensively rebuilt, with the addition of the cast-iron pillars, after the earthquake of 1843. The law courts met on the ground floor and the legislature on the floor above. The building now houses the Historical and Archaeological Society of Antigua and Barbuda (HAS), which has a specialist library, and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. It used to contain the historical records of the island but these are now stored, about a third of a mile to the east, in a purpose-built National Archives Building opposite the sport field called the Antigua Recreation Ground. The Police Station (1750s) and guardhouse (1754) in Newgate Street were formerly an arsenal, now surrounded by railings composed of firelocks and bayonets. St. John’s Anglican Cathedral between Long and Newgate Streets has many interesting eighteenth-century memorial tablets and graves. It was built in 1683 and rebuilt in 1745 and 1847. Government House was once frequented by great admirals such as Lord Hood and Lord Nelson. It was the private home of the merchant Thomas Kerby in 1750, and is now the residence of the governor-general. The barracks building was erected in 1735. The Historic Redcliffe Quay, also known as Pickett’s Wharf, is on the waterfront of St. John’s. It was a trading center with warehouses, taverns, and docks, which are now converted into restaurants and shops. At the time of the American Revolution it was owned by Charles Kerr, a merchant of Scottish descent who had many commercial interests including a shipyard; he was chief supplier to the navy in 1781. The district was extensively damaged by the fire of 1841.
Shirley Heights is part of national park which comprises Nelson’s Dockyard. It was built during the governorship of Sir Thomas Shirley. The fortifications mostly postdate the American Revolution, although they were begun in 1781. The postwar years were a major period for the construction of fortifications throughout the British Caribbean. The investment was largely a response to the experiences of the American Revolution in which an island might hold out for several weeks with a small garrison and strong fortifications, as did St. Kitts in January 1781. There are today the ruins of barracks, batteries, cisterns, and powder magazines. The ordnance building is now used as a restaurant. A weathered stone on the front of the main building at the west end records that the First West India Regiment was stationed there more than thirty years after the barracks were built. This regiment originated in the South Carolina Black Corps, which was created during the American Revolution, drawing upon slaves who were given their freedom in return for serving in the British army, and then sent to the West Indies. Shirley Heights has a magnificent view of English Harbour, Montserrat, and Redonda.
For further information contact the following: the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism, 610 Fifth Avenue, Suite 311, New York, N.Y. 10020; phone: (888) 268-4227 (toll-free) or (212) 541-4117; fax: (212) 541-4789; email: [email protected]; the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism, Government Complex, Queen Elizabeth Highway, St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies; phone: (268) 462-0408; fax: (268) 462-2483; email: [email protected]; the Antigua and Barbuda Historical and Archaeological Society, Church Street, P.O. Box 103, English Harbour, Antigua; phone: (268) 463-1060; the Historical and Archaeological Society, Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, Box 2103, St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies; phone: (268) 462-4930; fax (268) 462-1469; email: [email protected]; website: www.antiguanice.com. At Nelson’s Dockyard National Park contact the chairperson of the NPA, Ms. Valerie Hodge, the parks commissioner, Mrs. A. Martin, and the onsite archaeologist, Dr. Reg A. Murphy, at P.O. Box 1283, St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies; phone: (268) 460-1379; fax: (268) 460-1516; email: [email protected] Christopher Codrington has created a website, “Historic Antigua and Barbuda,” with information relating to the history, archaeology, and genealogy of the island at idt.net/∼coopcod, or email him at [email protected] The National Archives are located at Rappaport Centre, Factory Road, St. Johns; phone: (268) 462-3946.
The Bahamas were a British colony included in a grant by Charles I to Sir Robert Heath, then attorney general of England, on 30 October 1629. During the American Revolution the islands were the scene of the first deployment of marines from North America. On 3 March 1776 an American fleet commanded by Esek Hopkins attacked Nassau. They remained on the island for two weeks, during which time they dismantled the forts to obtain the ammunition and guns. During the war the Bahamas fitted out privateers which captured 124 American ships, together with 15 Spanish and 31 French ships, between 1777 and 1782. In January 1778 another party of American marines attacked and held the island for two days while they spiked the remaining guns at Nassau. The Spanish retook Nassau in 1782 with the help of the South Carolina, the largest and most powerful American ship to serve in the war, under the command of Commodore Alexander Gillon. The French seized the Turks Islands and defended them against a counterattack by Captain Horatio Nelson of the H.M.S. Albermarle in 1783. It was a group of American Loyalists led by Andrew Deveaux, a lieutenant colonel of the South Carolina militia, who retook the Bahamas from the Spanish on 18 September 1783. The Bahamas were transformed by the Revolutionary War when their population doubled with the arrival of Loyalist refugees and their slaves from Georgia and the Carolinas.
Cat Island contains the ruins of the American Loyalist Andrew Deveaux’s mansion, built in 1783 in Port Howe. He led the expedition that reconquered the island from the Spanish.
Nassau, the capital of New Providence, dates from 1729. Fort Charlotte commands the western entrance to the harbor. It was named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, and was built between 1787 and 1794 on the orders of John Murray, the fourth earl of Dunmore, who had been governor of Virginia at the outbreak of the American Revolution and was also a former governor of New York. Fort Montagu, built in 1742, commanded the eastern end of the harbor overlooking the narrows between Hog and Athol Islands. It was briefly captured by the Americans in 1776. The fort is named after the duke of Montagu of the Royal Foresters of South Carolina, who launched a bold attack to repossess the island from the Spanish on 14 April 1783. Montagu financed the expedition, despite having lost much of his fortune in the war, assembling 220 men with only 150 muskets. He cleverly deceived his opponents regarding his actual numbers. The Deanery is a private residence dating from 1710. The kitchen and former slave quarters are in a one-story building to the west of the house. The Priory (1787) was the official residence of Governor Dunmore. The Vendue House is now the Pompey Museum. It was a slave auction house built some time before 1769. Blackbeard’s Tower, northeast of Nassau, allegedly dates from the late 1600s. Also in New Providence there is a late-seventeenth-century fort at Northwest Point and the ruins of a fort at South Ocean Beach.
For further information contact: the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, P.O. Box N-3701, Nassau, Bahamas; phone: (242) 322-7500; fax: (242) 328-0945; email: [email protected]; the Department of Archives, P.O. Box SS-6341, Nassau, N. P., Bahamas; phone: (242) 393-2175, 393-2855; fax: (242) 393-2855; email: [email protected]; website: www.bahamasnationalarchives.bs; the Bahamas Public Library, Rawson Square, Nassau, Bahamas. At the College of the Bahamas Library you may contact Ms. Williamae Johnson at Oakes Field, P.O. Box N1645, Nassau, Bahamas; phone: (242) 323-7930 ext. 227; fax: 242 323 7834; email: [email protected] Also helpful are the Bahamas National Trust, The Retreat, Village Road, P.O. Box N-4105, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas; phone: (242) 393-1317; fax: (242) 393-4978; and the Bahamas Historical Society, Elizabeth Avenue/Shirley Street, P.O. Box 55-6833, Nassau, Bahamas; phone: (242) 322-4231.
Barbados was a British colony between 1627 and 1966. The 166-square-mile island had close links with British North America before 1775. A group of adventurers from the island led the settlement of South Carolina, whose original slave code was closely modeled on that of Barbados. Benjamin Franklin was first apprenticed in Philadelphia to Samuel Keimer, who later became a printer in Barbados. George Washington made his only trip abroad in 1751 to Barbados when he visited the island in the hope of finding a remedy for his ill half-brother Lawrence Washington, from whom he later inherited Mount Vernon. He kept a diary during his visit to the island between 28 September and 3 November. He became ill himself during the trip, and very nearly died of smallpox. His brother was related through marriage to Gedney Clarke, a local merchant, who was a member of the council, collector of customs, and owner of the Bell Plantation. Clarke greeted the Washingtons on their arrival in Barbados. Crispus Attucks, one of the victims of the Boston Massacre in 1770, and Prince Hall, a member of a British Army Lodge of Freemasons in Boston in 1775 and the founder of the first African Grand Lodge in Boston, were both from Barbados. During the American Revolution the island suffered severe food shortages in the early stages of the war, having previously relied upon imports of fish, corn, and rice from North America. General Sir John Vaughan made the island his command headquarters when he arrived with the Eighty-ninth Regiment in February 1780. The island was devastated by a hurricane the following October. Benjamin Franklin gave American privateers orders for ships to be allowed to pass without molestation to relieve the island.
Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados. Few buildings survived the destruction of the hurricanes of 1780 and 1831, and the fire of 1860. The Law Courts are housed in a building completed between 1730 and 1732, which was the place where the assembly met between 1729 and 1784. It was the oldest assembly in the British Caribbean, having been founded in 1639, twenty years after the assembly in Virginia, which was the first in North America. During the American Revolution the building also doubled as a jail for confining prisoners of war, including Captain John Manley and his crew of the American privateer Cumberland who escaped, clearly with inside help, in 1779. The Nichols Building (now the law offices of Harford Chambers), on the corner of Lucas and James, with its curvilinear gables, is Bridgetown’s oldest surviving building, thought to predate 1700. The Government House, approached from Trafalgar Square by Constitution Road and Government Hill, was leased as the residence of the governors of the island in 1703 and purchased in 1736. It was known as Pilgrim after the first resident, the Quaker John Pilgrim, and was rebuilt in 1755. It is not open to the public because it is now the official residence of the governor-general. Literary Row, connecting Lake’s Folly with Cheapside, is named after the Literary Society, founded in August 1777. Queen’s Park contains the King’s (now Queen’s) House, which became the residence of General Sir John Vaughan in 1780. It was destroyed by a hurricane the same year. Major General Gabriel Christie demolished the remnants of the original structure to build the present one, ordered the purchase of the land, and added some barracks on the west side of the house. The current structure was built in 1783 to be the residence of the commanding officer of the British army in the eastern Caribbean (Barbados and the Windward and Leeward Islands). Today the main building is used as a theater and gallery.
Carlisle Bay was named after the earl of Carlisle, to whom Charles I granted the island in 1627. Barbados lacks a natural harbor, and the British fleet was therefore stationed at Antigua. Nevertheless, the navy frequently moored in Carlisle Bay during the American Revolution. The British expedition against St. Lucia sailed from Barbados on 12 December 1778. It included five thousand troops who had served under Sir Henry Clinton in North America. The Careenage, a harbor of modest dimensions, is a basin on the lower reaches of the old Constitution River, which terminates in the Molehead. In December 1772 work commenced on dredging the water and rebuilding the wharves, necessitating the removal of 5,760 tons of rubbish. It was sufficiently successful to enable vessels of a draught of 9 or 10 feet to enter the channel by April 1773, but the achievement was reversed by the effects of the hurricane of October 1780. The Careenage was defended by Charles Fort on Needham’s Point, which dated from 1650, but was completely rebuilt in 1811 to 1812, and is now located in the grounds of the Hilton Hotel.
Codrington College was a school at the time of the American Revolution and a plantation owned by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). It is a very impressive building with its avenue of tall cabbage-palm trees lining the drive of the approach and its view of the Atlantic Ocean. It was founded by Christopher Codrington, the governor-general of the Leeward Islands, who bequeathed two sugar plantations for the education of scholars and for the religious instruction of the slaves to the SPG by his will of 1710. It opened as a grammar school in 1745 and a theological college in 1830. The Principal’s Lodge, or Consett’s House, was the original great house of the plantation where Christopher Codrington lived; it predates 1700 but was gutted by fire in 1926. The college buildings were completed in 1743. They feature a triple-arched open portico through which the visitor glimpses the sea. There are 5 acres of woodland and a large lily pond which dominates the garden in front of the college. It is indicative of the poverty of the educational infrastructure of the islands in this period that the school was closed between 1775 and 1796.
Fort George was a redoubt about 2.5 miles east of Bridgetown which was under construction in 1779. It was never completed, but a few traces remain.
The Morgan Lewis Mill was originally built by Dutch Jews from Brazil. It is still functional and is now preserved by the Barbados National Trust. As on St. Kitts and Antigua, there are towers of eighteenth-century sugar mills throughout Barbados. There are additional displays of the operation of the sugar industry at St. Nicholas Abbey and the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Machinery Museum.
Plantation Houses. Drax Hall, together with St. Nicholas Abbey, is one of two remaining Jacobean houses in Barbados. It is not open to the public, but the exterior is sufficient testimony of the immense prosperity of the island in the late seventeenth century. Sunbury Plantation House and Museum in St. Philip was built in the 1660s and much expanded around 1770. It was severely damaged in a fire in 1995. It is the only plantation house that can be toured throughout, with period furnishings and estate tools. There still survive a large number of houses which either predate or were contemporaneous with the American Revolution: Aberdare in Christ Church; Alleyndale Hall in St. Peter (c. 1720); Bagatelle (Parham House); Bath in St. John; the Bay Mansion in St. Michael (pre-1784); Brighton in St. George (1652); Clifton Hall in St. John; Halton in St. Philip; Harmony Hall in St. Michael (pre-1700); Holders House in St. James (pre-1700); Malvern in St. John; Newcastle in St. John; Hopfield in Christ Church; Porters in St. James (pre-1700, and owned for more than two hundred years by the Alleyne family); Warrens in St. Thomas (1683); and Wildey House in St. Michael (1760s).
St. Ann’s Fort in Bridgetown was established during the reign of Queen Anne and contains some seventy buildings of historical and architectural interest which were all part of the former military garrison. The buildings mostly postdate the American Revolution, although the expansion of the site began with the arrival of a British garrison under the command of General Sir John Vaughan in 1780. The early-eighteenth-century shot tower in the center of the fort still exists; it is a sexagonal building which was used for making lead shot. The Savannah was a military parade ground which is used for sporting and ceremonial events. It is surrounded by the largest collection of seventeenth-century English artillery in existence, including one of only two surviving cannon of Oliver Cromwell‘s army. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society has been housed in the Military Prison (1817–1818) since 1933. It contains a large collection of artifacts and paintings from the eighteenth century, as well as a reference library above the ground floor.
St. George’s Parish Church contains a painting of the Resurrection by the Pennsylvanian painter Benjamin West, who became president of the Royal Academy and was the favorite artist of George III. It was commissioned for the church by the president of the council, the Honorable Henry Frere of Lower Estate, and it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1786, labeled “Not For Sale.” However, it was another thirty years before it was placed in the church because of a disagreement between the rector and Frere. During the period of opposition to the Townshend Duties in America in 1768, Frere had written a pamphlet to show that “Barbados hath always preserved a uniform and steady attachment to great Britain.” St. Nicholas Abbey, St. Peter was one of the finest homes in seventeenth-century English America, built around 1650 to 1660. Sir John Yeamans, the second owner of the house, led a pioneer expedition to South Carolina, where he became governor in 1672. During the American Revolution it was the home of Sir John Gay Alleyne, who acquired the house through his wife in 1746 and who for thirty years was the speaker of the House of Assembly. Mount Gay, one of the best and oldest brands of rum in the Caribbean, was named after Alleyne. He likely added the triple-arcaded portico at the entrance, together with the interior moldings and sash windows. The house is remarkably well preserved.
Speightstown, St. Peter is 12 miles from Bridgetown. It was a port defended by five batteries and forts. There are still visible ruins of Denmark Fort, Orange Fort, Dover Fort, Coconut Fort, and the Heywood Battery. There are also fortress ruins near Maycock’s Bay. On 12 June 1777 American privateers took fishing boats and slaves off the coast, with losses estimated at £2,000. The town contains today many fine examples of early colonial architecture, such as the three-story, late-seventeenth-century Arlington House.
Washington House (Bush Hill House), situated at the top of Bush Hill to the north of the Garrison Savannah and Main Guard, was the residence where the nineteen-year-old George Washington stayed during his seven-week visit in 1751. It was purchased by the British Ordnance Department in 1789 and became the quarters of the commanding engineer and/or commanding officer of St. Ann’s Garrison.
A reference library is available for research on the island’s history and genealogy at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, St. Ann’s Garrison, St. Michael; phone: (246) 427-0201; fax: (246) 429-5946; email: [email protected]; website: http://www.Barbmuse.org.bb. Also useful is the Barbados National Trust, Wildey House, Widley, St. Michael, Barbados; phone: (246) 426-2421 / 436-9033; fax: (246) 429-9055; website: http://www.sunbeach.net.trust. You can reach the National Archives via phone: (246) 425-1380 or fax: (246) 425-5911. For a guide to historic places visit http://www.barbados.org/historic.htm. Also contact the Barbados Tourism Authority, Harbour Road, Bridgetown, Barbados; phone: (246) 427-2623; fax (246) 426-4080; email: [email protected]; website: http://barbados.org/; and the Barbados Tourism Authority, USA/New York Office, 800 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017; phone: (212) 986-6516 / (800) 221-9831; fax: (212) 573-9850; email: [email protected]; website: http://barbados.org/usa.
The Virgin Islands were part of the British federal colony of the Leeward Islands after 1672 and are still a British colony. They comprise a group of twenty islands including Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost van Dyke, Peter’s Island, and Salt Islands.
Tortola is the largest of this group of islands. In response to the threat of American privateers, the local merchants fitted out pirateers, or “pickaroons,” which carried anywhere between 4 to 68 guns with crews of between 20 and 309 men. They were sufficiently successful to incur the wrath of the United States. As late as 1782, Congress made plans for a retaliatory raid against Tortola. There are still the remains of the home of Dr. William Thornton, who was born in the Virgin Islands and who designed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and who was chosen by Thomas Jefferson to design some of the buildings at the University of Virginia. The ruins of Fort George, Fort Charlotte, and Fort Shirley mostly date from the 1790s. Fort Recovery in the west of the island was built by the Dutch between 1648 and 1660.
For further information contact: Library Services Department, Flemming Street, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; phone: (284) 494-3428; the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, 3390 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30326; phone: (404) 240-8018; fax: (404) 233-2318; or the British Virgin Islands National Parks Trust, c/o Ministry of Natural Resources Road Town, Tortola, BVI.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean with a total area of 42,860 square miles, and it was a Spanish colony between 1492 and 1898. It was the assembly point for the silver fleets to Spain. Charles III initiated a major expansion of the navy and of the fortifications of the islands in the decade before the American Revolution. The impetus for strengthening the defenses of the Spanish islands was partly a response to British successes during the Seven Years’ War, when the British had conquered Havana (1762) and the Floridas. Spain consequently built the formidable fortress of Fortaleza in Havana between 1763 and 1774. The British never attempted to attack the island following the entry of Spain into the Revolutionary War in 1779. The Spanish were cautious in their support of the American Revolution. They allied themselves with France but never formally with the United States. They opened the ports of Cuba to American trade in 1780. The highest-ranking prisoner in Havana during the war was Major General John Campbell, the former commander of British forces at Pensacola.
Havana. There are almost 350 surving buildings in the city which date from between 1512 and 1800. El Castillo de la Real Fuerza (the Castle of Royal Force), commanding the harbor mouth, was commissioned by Philip II and built in 1558 to 1577 on a site of an earlier fortress of Hernando de Soto. The bell tower was added in 1630 to 1634. The fortress was the residence of the captain general between 1577 and 1762 and was used as a barracks during the American Revolution. The Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, at the mouth of the harbor, was built in 1579 and overwhelmed after a forty-four-day siege by the British in 1762. There are still sixty cannon pointing out to sea. The polygon structure is at the center of the UNESCO World Heritage program for the restoration of Old Havana. It faces, across the harbor, the Castillo de la Punta on the Malecón promenade, which was completed in 1600. The Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña was begun in 1763 and completed in 1774, and occupies about a tenth of the surface area of Old Havana. It could accommodate five thousand troops. It was the largest fort built on the Spanish Main and, together with the rebuilding of El Morro, it illustrates the major improvements to the defenses of the Spanish islands which were undertaken in the decade before the American Revolution. The Cabaña is now a historical study center and a museum of military history, and part of the Morro-Cabaña Historic Park. The Plaza Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (Plaza de la Iglesia), the oldest square in the city, was expanded to its present size in 1776. The government buildings are particularly impressive, especially the Captain General’s Palace, with its façade of ten grand columns, which was built between 1776 and 1791. It was the residence of the colonial governors and is now the Municipal Museum. The palaces include the Palacio del Segundo Cob, built between 1772 and 1776; the Mateo Pedroso y Florencia House, which dates from 1780; the Palacio del Conde Lombillo, built as the home of the royal treasurer in 1737 and reconstructed in 1762; and the Palacio de los Condes de Casa-Bayona (1720). There are numerous former private residences, such as the Zambrana House at 117-19 Calle Obispo, which is the oldest house in Havana, dating from 1570; the Hostal Valencia on Calle Officios, south of the Plaza de Armas, a mansion dating from the mid-eighteenth century, and now a hotel; and El Patio, opposite the cathedral, built in 1775. Like Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico, Cuba has many early religious buildings, including the Santa Clara of Assisi Convent, which was built between 1636 and 1643; the San Cristóbal Cathedral, built between 1748 and 1777; the Seminario de San Carlos and San Ambrosio, behind the cathedral, which dates from 1772; the Church and Convent of Nuestra Senor de Belén (1718); La Merced (1755–1792); and the San Francisco de Paula Church (1745). The boundary of Old Havana is marked by a shaded boulevard, the Paseo, or Prado, built in 1772.
Santiago de Cuba is Cuba’s second major city after Havana. The Castillo del Morr was built about 1663 and expanded in 1710. It retains its moat, drawbridge, ramparts, cannon, dungeons, barracks, and chapel. It was built on the site of an earlier fort which was destroyed in 1662 by the English pirate and later governor of Jamaica, Henry Morgan. The home of Diego Velázquez is the oldest villa in Cuba, built between 1516 and 1530.
For further information contact: the Canadian Board of Cuban Tourism, 1200 Bay Street, Suite 305, Toronto, Ontario M5R 2A5; phone: (416) 362-0700; fax: (416) 362-6799; email: [email protected] An alternate address is 2075, rue University, Bureau 460, Montréal, Québec H3A 2L1; phone: (514) 875-8004; fax: (514) 875-8006; email: [email protected] Other useful contacts are: Archivo Nacional (National Archive), Compostela esq. San Isidro, La Habana 1, Cuba; Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), Plaza de la Revolución José Martí, Apartado Oficial 3, La Habana, Cuba; Cuban Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 2650, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110-2650; Cuban Index, c/o Peter E. Carr, P.O. Box 15839, San Luis Obispo, Calif. 93406-5839; Oficina del Historiador Ciudad de La Habana, Tacon No. 1, La Habana Vieja, Ciudad de la Habana 10100, Republica de Cuba; phone: (53-7) 2876 / 5062 / 5001; fax: 33 8183.
Trinidad de Cuba was founded in 1514 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Plaza Mayor (Antigua Plaza de Trinidad) was laid out in 1522. The Inquisitor’s House (Lara House) was the home of the head of the Spanish Inquisition and dates from 1732. The Guamuhaya Archaeological Museum is in a house built in 1732, and the Museum of Colonial Architecture is in a house built in 1735.
The Valle de Los Ingenios is a valley with the remains of numerous plantations, slave burial sites, mills, and great houses. It is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the San Alejo de Manaca Iznaga Villa, a hacienda and plantation great house, built in 1750. Cuba’s sugar industry developed later than that of the British and French islands in the Caribbean, so most of the island’s sugar plantations date from the nineteenth century.
The Dutch captured Curaçao from the Spanish in 1634. The 171-square-mile island was a center for the slave trade and illicit commerce with the Spanish Main. The island possesses the earliest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and seventeenth-century tombstones of Jewish settlers.
Plantations (landhuis) and Great Houses. There are several historically interesting buildings on Curaçao: the Civil Service Registration Office, a pre-1740 mansion; Jan Kock, a great house on a salt mining estate built around 1750 to 1764; Brievengat Landhuis (1750) and Ascension (1700), which were restored by the Curaçao Foundation for Preserving Ancient Monuments; Casa Venezolana (1750); Daniel Lanhuis (1750); Groot Santa Marta House, which has late-seventeenth-century features; Hato Landhuis, the home of an eighteenth-century director of the Dutch West Indies Company; Klein Santa Maria (1700); Knip Landhuis (late 1600s); Savonet (1662 and rebuilt 1806), which houses a museum; and Stroomzigt (1780).
Willemstad, the capital and chief port of Curaçao, is really two cities, Punda and Otrabanda, surrounding the narrows of St. Anna Bay. On the Punda side is the Herrenstraat, which predates 1700. St. Anna’s Catholic Church was built in 1751, and the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue around 1730 to 1732. There is a ceremonial bath in the 1780 courtyard museum. The Beth Haim Cemetery was established by Sephardic Jews, with more than 2,500 tombs dating from 1668. The Penha House, on the corner of Handelskade and Heerenstraat, dates from 1708. The Fortkerk, the old Dutch Reformed Church which faces into Wilhelminaplein, was constructed in 1763 and rebuilt in 1796. Fort Amsterdam was constructed between 1642 and 1675. It was built according to a seventeenth-century design and retains the arched entrance to the original governor’s residence (1642). Rif Fort, or Riffort, south of Brionplein, dates from 1768, and protected the harbor with Water Fort, built in 1634. The Curaçao Museum is further west of Bironplein in a nineteenth-century great house in Otrabanda.
For further information contact: Curaçao Tourist Board, Pietermaai 19, P.O. Box 3266, Curaçao Netherlands Antilles; phone: 599 9 434 82 00; fax: 599 9 461 50 17/ 461 23 05; email: [email protected]; Curaçao Monument Council, Inter regional Committee Action, Willemstad (ICAW), Monument Bureau, Scharlooweg 51, Willemstad, Curaçao; phone: 599 9 465 46 88; fax: 599 9 465 45 91; Corporation for Urban Revitalization, Monument Conservation Foundation Belvederestraat 43/45, P.O. Box 2042, Willemstat, Curaçao; phone: 599 9 462 86 80; fax: 599 9 462 72 75. In the United States contact Joel Grossman at Tourism Solutions, 7951 Sixth Street S.W., Suite 216, Plantation, Fla. 33145; phone: (954) 370-5887 / (800) 328-7222; fax: (954) 723-7949; email: [email protected]
Dominica was one of the last islands to be formally colonized by Europeans. With its very mountainous and richly forested terrain, the 290-square-mile island has some of the best natural features in the Caribbean. In 1607 Captain John Smith and a group of colonists stopped at the island on their way to settle Jamestown. French settlers began arriving during the eighteenth century, but the island remained independent until its conquest by the British in 1761 and formal cession in 1763. During the American Revolution the French seized the initiative in the Caribbean when the marquis de Bouillé captured Dominica from the British on 7 September 1778. Admiral Sir Samuel Barrington had secret orders not to leave Barbados, but to await an expedition from North America which was destined for St. Lucia. The French retained the island for the rest of the war, but it was returned to the British in the peace treaty of 1783. Maroons (runaway slaves) waged an internal guerrilla war against the British which began during the American Revolution in 1780 and lasted until 1814. They were assisted by the forested, mountainous, and rugged terrain of the island, together with the small size of the army garrison. The island was nevertheless a popular destination for American Loyalists. Dominica became an independent republic in 1978.
The Cabrits National Park contains Prince Rupert’s Garrison, where some fifty different military structures were constructed between 1770 and 1815. These included Fort Shirley, overlooking Prince Rupert’s Bay, with its seven-gun batteries, seven cisterns, powder magazines, storehouses, a guardhouse, a parade ground, engineers’ quarters, officers’ quarters, two hospitals, a commandant’s house, and barracks for six hundred men. The structures were mostly built by the British, although there were some additions made by the French during their occupation in 1778 to 1783. They were abandoned as a military post in 1854. There is a museum in the old powder magazine. The site was formed by the twin peaks of volcanoes overlooking Prince Rupert’s Bay and Portsmouth, and is surrounded on three sides by water. The park has views of the French islands of Les Saintes, where Rodney won his victory in 1782, and Guadeloupe.
Carib Territory. Dominica is unusual in that some of the indigenous people who predated Columbus and who were decimated elsewhere in the Caribbean survived here. The British surveyed and divided the island into lots in 1763, reserving only 23 acres of mountainous land and rocky shoreline at Salybia for the Caribs. Their descendants continue to live in the region.
Fort Cashacrou, Scotts Head. Overlooking Soufriere Bay, this was the site where the invading French fought the British en route to Pointe Michel on 7 September 1778. It was the first fort captured by the marquis de Bouillé. The ruins of the fort remain, although much of it was destroyed by erosion and fell into the sea. It has a view of Martinique.
Old Mill Cultural Centre at Canefield has a small museum with displays of pre-Columbian artifacts, as well as exhibits of local art and handicrafts.
Prince Rupert’s Bay, Portsmouth is a fine natural harbor protected by two hills, the Cabrits. Nelson frequently visited the harbor for wood and water while commanding the H.M.S. Boreas.
Rodney’s Rock, on the leeward side of the island, was named after Admiral Sir George Rodney and is associated with many legends connected with him. It was supposedly the site where one of the French ships was wrecked following the Battle of the Saintes.
Roseau, the capital. The original town of Roseau was largely destroyed by fire during the occupation of the French in 1778 and 1781, and again in 1795 and 1805. The streets were named after the royal family and contemporary statesmen, including Lord Hillsborough, who held the newly created position of British secretary of state for America after 1768; Great George, after George III; and Hanover, after the house of Hanover. Fort Young Hotel, which defended the harbor, began construction in 1770 on the orders of the first governor Sir William Young and was completed during the French occupation in 1783. It was much damaged in the hurricane of 1979. The House of Assembly stands on the site of the original assembly created in 1765. Fort Morene Bruce was fortified during the eighteenth century with batteries, barracks, and blockhouses. It is accessible via a path called Jack’s Walk, named after James Bruce, the British army engineer who designed the fort. The barracks continue to be used for government residences and police training. The fort has good views of the town and Botanical Gardens.
For further information contact: the Dominica Tourist Board, National Development Corporation, P.O. Box 293, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica; phone: (767) 448-2045; fax: (767) 448-5840. In the United States contact Steve Johnson at the United States Post Office, 110-64 Queens Boulevard, P.O. Box 42, Forest Hills, N.Y. 11375-6347; phone: (718) 261-9615 / (888) 645-5637; fax: (718) 261-0702; email: [email protected]; website: http://www.dominica.dm.
The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti (formerly St. Domingue). The 18,816-square-mile country was a Spanish colony until 1822 and, following a period of occupation by Haiti, became independent in 1844. It was sacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1586. It was after a failed attack on the island in 1655 that William Penn chose instead to conquer Jamaica. Admiral José de Solano was governor of the island between 1771 and 1778 before becoming commander of the Spanish navy stationed at Havana.
Puerto Plata contains the oldest fort in the New World, the Fortaleza de San Felipe, built between 1520 and 1585. The central keep is now a museum.
For further information contact: Archivo General de la Nación (National Archive), Calle M. East Daz, Santo Domingo, La República Dominicana; Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), César Nicolás Penson 91, Plaza de la Cultura, Santo Domingo, La República Dominicana; Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía, Inc. (Dominican Genealogy Institute, Inc.) P.O. Box 3350, Calle Mercedes, #204, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana; phone: (809) 687-3992; fax: (809) 687-0027; Secretaría de Estado de Turismo, Av. Mèxico esq. C/ 30 de Marzo, Oficinas Gubernamentales Bloque D, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana; phone: (809) 221-4660; fax: (809) 682-3806.
Santo Domingo de Guzmán. The old city was founded by the brother of Christopher Columbus in 1498 and is now a UNESCO Site of World Heritage. The city plan became the blueprint for cities throughout Spanish America. The Cathedral de Santa María de Menor was built in 1523 to 1540 and is located in the center of the Old Town. The Las Mercedes Church dates from 1555. There is a museum in the sixteenth-century Casa de Tostado that includes displays of furnishings and militaria. There are similar displays in the Casa del Cordón, built in 1503 by a patron of the Franciscan Order. The Universidad da San Tomas de Aquina is the oldest university in the Americas (1538). The old city wall contains the remains of the Fort San Felipe and the city gate, the Puerta de San Diego (1540–1555). The Forteleza Ozama dates from 1507. It includes the Casa Batidas (1512) and the Torre del Homenaje (Tower of Homage), built between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, where Columbus’s son Diego stayed on his arrival in Santo Domingo. The town contains a rich array of palaces and official buildings, including the House of Cord, where Diego Columbus lived while awaiting the building of the Alcázar de Cólon. The Alcázar (1510–1514), sometimes called Columbus Palace, was the home of the Columbus family until 1577 and is now the Viceroyalty Museum. It is adjacent to a group of eight buildings known as Ataranzana, which was the warehouse district, with a sixteenth-century chandlery, a royal armory, and custom-houses, and now the home of the Naval Underwater Archaeology Museum. The Calle de las Damas is the oldest street in the city, where there are several noteworthy buildings, including the Casa Francia, which was the home of the conquistador Hernán Cortés, and the Ovando House (1510–1515). The Casas Reales, built in the early sixteenth century, was the headquarters of the governor, the captains general, the Audiencia, the Treasury, and the Supreme Court. It now contains a museum.
Grenada was a British colony from its capture from the French in 1762 until 1974 (except for the brief interval of French occupation between 1779 and 1784). On 4 July 1779 Admiral d’Estaing seized the 120-square-mile island, which was then the largest sugar producer after Jamaica in the British West Indies. Governor Lord Macartney attempted to defend the island with a force of only 150 regulars and 300 militia against 3,000 French troops. The free blacks and free coloreds who were French hastened his surrender by deserting the garrison. The French captured thirty richly laden merchant ships in the port, and d’Estaing sacked the town of St. George because the governor refused to surrender. The British admiral John Byron did not reach the island until 6 July, and his inferior fleet fought an indecisive sea battle against d’Estaing’s fleet off the coast of Grenada. Byron then returned to St. Kitts with 183 killed and 340 wounded, as well as considerable damage to the masts and rigging, and six ships disabled. Hurricane Ivan leveled most of the buildings on the island in 2004.
Hospital Hill, overlooking St. George, was stormed and captured by a force of some 3,000 men under the command of Count Dillon and Admiral d’Estaing during the conquest in July 1779. Lord Macartney made a final attempt to resist the invasion with a total force of no more than 500 men, who entrenched themselves at the summit of the hill. The French sustained heavy losses during their successful attack, with some 300 killed and another 200 wounded.
Richmond Hill was the site of four forts. It was the scene of much construction during the American Revolution, including that of Fort Frederick, which was built by the French in 1779 to 1780 and completed by the British in 1784 to 1791, and Fort Mathew, which dates from between 1779 and 1783.
St. George’s is the capital town, which was established by the French in 1705 and originally called Fort Royal, but renamed after George III by Governor Robert Melville (1764–1771). The town surrounds a landlocked bay known as the Carenage, or inner harbor, which was used by the British and French fleets during the American Revolution. Many of the original buildings were lost in the fires of 1771 and 1775. Fort St. George was established in about the 1680s and rebuilt in 1705 to 1706. It commands a particularly attractive view of the town. In 1779 Lord Macartney withdrew to the fort and finally surrendered after a bombardment by the guns from Hospital Hill. Until recently the fort contained one of the earliest barracks in the Caribbean, which were built before 1762. It has subterranean passages, one redoubt of the original three, and a small military museum. The hospital (Morne de l’Hopital) was built in the early eighteenth century. Fort Mathew, at the top of Richmond Heights, was once the officers’ quarters and mess hall. It had an elaborate kitchen which was still in use in the 1970s. Fort Frederick, above the citadel, survived as a partial ruin.
For further information contact: Grenada Board of Tourism, Burns Point, P.O. Box 293, St. George’s, Grenada, West Indies; phone: (473) 440-2279 / 2001 / 3377; fax: (473) 440-6637; email: [email protected]; Grenada Board of Tourism, 317 Madison Avenue, Suite 1704, New York, N.Y. 10017; phone: (212) 687-9554 / (800) 927-9554; fax: (212) 573-9731; email: [email protected]; Public Library / National Archives, 2 Carenage, St. George’s, Grenada; phone: (473) 440-2506.
Guadeloupe is composed of two islands, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, which have a combined surface area of 582 square miles. It was settled by the French in 1635 and, apart from two interludes of British occupation in 1759 to 1763 and in 1810, it has remained French.
Basse-Terre, capital of the two islands, contains Fort St. Charles (Fort Louis) and dates from 1643. It is the site of a museum and is well preserved. There are the ruins of batteries at Pointe Allègre and at Deshaies. Vieux Habitants is one of the earliest settlements on Basse-Terre. The stone church was consecrated in 1666. The churchyard has some early tombstones.
Grande-Terre has the eighteenth-century fortress Fort Fleur d’Epée, built on a hillside with a moat and draw-bridge. There are many ruins of eighteenth-century sugar mills on both islands.
For further information contact: Office du Tourisme, Syndicat d’Initiative du Moule, Boulevard maritime Damencourt, 97160 Le Moule; phone: 590 (0)5 90 23 89 03; fax: 590 (0)5 90 23 03 58 ;email: [email protected]; Archives Départementales de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe Departmental Archive), P.O. Box 74, 97102 Basse-Terre Cedex; Archives Départementales de la Guadeloupe, B.P. 74, 97120 Basse Terre, Cedex, Guadeloupe; French Government Tourist Office, 444 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10022; phone: (410) 286-8310; fax: (202) 331-1528; website: http://www.guadeloupe-info.com/index-gb.htm; Archives Départementales de la Guyane, Place Leopold Heder, 97302 Cayenne, Cedex, Guadeloupe.
The colony Haiti was ceded to France by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, thus splitting the island of Hispaniola with the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). On the eve of the American Revolution the island was producing more sugar than the entire produce of all the British islands. It was a major conduit of illicit trade to America during the Revolutionary War. St. Domingue exploited its neutral status before France formally entered the war in 1778, and as early as September 1775, it was the source of large quantities of gunpowder to the rebellion, providing a conduit between France and America. Caron de Beaumarchais, better known as the playwright who wrote The Marriage of Figaro, used the guise of a merchant firm called Roderigue Hortalez and Company to establish a regular trade between Europe and America via St. Domingue. The first shipment sailed towards the end of 1776. Beaumarchais kept an agent on the island to oversee the operations of the company called Carabas. Congress also had agents on the island, Richard Harrison at Cap Français and Nicholas Rogers at Port-au-Prince. In addition, there were purchasing agents from America, including Stephen Ceronio at Cap Français and John Dupuy at the Môle St. Nicholas. The island was the base of operations for Admiral D’ Estaing’s expedition against Savannah, Georgia in 1779. The free colored people and black troops who participated in the campaign included some future leaders of the Haitian Revolution. The island was the intended rendezvous for the combined operation of the French and Spanish fleets against Jamaica in 1782. Admiral de Grasse was on his way from Martinique to St. Domingue when he was intercepted and captured by Admiral Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes. St. Domingue was the scene of the second major revolution in the Americas. After thirteen years of war and a successful slave revolt, it became an independent black republic in 1804. There are few remaining buildings dating from the colonial period.
Cap Hatïen, known in the eighteenth century as Cap Français, La Cap, or by the English as the Cape, is the oldest city in Haiti. In 1781 Admiral de Grasse sailed from here for the Chesapeake, where he played a critical role in preventing the British fleet from relieving the army of Lord Cornwallis. The façade of the city’s cathedral dates from the eighteenth century. Fort Picolet, possibly built by Louis XIV‘s great military architect, Vauban, commands the only navigable channel to the harbor of Cap Hatïen. Fort Magny and Fort St. Joseph are eighteenth century in origin.
Fort Liberté, a town on the north coast, was the location of five forts that guarded the bay, including Fort Dauphin, which dates from 1730. The blockhouse and ruins of the barracks are still visible.
Môle St. Nicholas, in the northeast of the island, was the great naval stronghold commanding the Windward Passage. The harbor, fort, and town are located in a landlocked bay.
Port au Prince. The Ancienne Cathédral Catholique, now very dilapidated, dates from 1720. Fort Nationale, northeast of St. Trinité, dates from the late seventeenth century.
For further information contact: Rehabiliter le Patrimoine Naturel et Historique, 26 Rue Ducoste, Port-au-Prince, République d’Haiti, phone: 509 22 1219; Haitian American Historical Society, Daniel Fils-Aimé, Sr., Chairman, 8340 Northeast Second Avenue, Suite 222, Miami, Fla. 33138; phone: (786) 621-0035; email: [email protected]; Haitian American Historical Society, P.O. Box 531033, Miami, Fla. 33153; Consulate General of Haiti Tourist Office, 271 Madison Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10016; phone: (212) 697-9767; fax: (212) 681-6991; website: www.haiti.org. You may also search the database of the civil registers of the Archives Nationales d’Haïti.
Conquered by the British from the Spanish in 1655 in an expedition led by Admiral Penn and General Venables, the 4,411-square-mile island was the largest and most valuable colony in the British Caribbean until it became independent in 1962. Admiral Penn’s son was rewarded with the patent for Pennsylvania by Charles II, largely in gratitude for his father’s capture of Jamaica. In 1776 a slave rebellion broke out in Hanover Parish and quickly spread to other parts of the island before being suppressed by British troops on their way to serve in North America. It resulted in the trial of 135 slaves, of whom 17 were executed, 45 transported, and 11 subjected to corporal punishment. The defense of the island was a major priority of the British government during the Revolutionary War. American privateers launched raids such as the one repelled by the fort at St. Ann’s Bay in 1777. After their entry into the war, France and Spain planned combined operations against Jamaica. There was a frenzy of military construction following the French invasion threat in late 1778. A series of redoubts were built at intervals up the Cane River Valley, with the first at Drummond’s Hill, just south of Newsted, across the track joining the two roads on either side of the Mammee River. In the summer of 1779, when the island was gripped by an invasion scare, Sir Henry Clinton embarked Lord Cornwallis and 4,000 British troops for Jamaica. The crisis illustrated the willingness of Britain to defend the island at all costs, even at the risk of sacrificing the war for America. The economic problems caused by the war were aggravated by one of the worst recorded series of hurricanes (six) in the history of the island, in which an estimated 15,000 slaves perished. Jamaica was the most popular destination in the Caribbean for American Loyalists. As many as 400 white families, together with 5,000 slaves, arrived following the British evacuation of Savannah, Georgia, in July 1782; and another 1,278 whites and 2,613 blacks arrived following the British departure from Charleston, South Carolina the following December.
Apostles’ Battery, to the west of Port Royal, was built in the 1740s to protect the south channel into Kingston Harbour. It was a heavily fortified line of twelve guns known as the Twelve Apostles, including nine 42-pounders and three 32-pounders. A stone parapet and paved platform, together with a cistern for 3,000 gallons of water, were added before 1757. There remains the outline of the platform, the northern retaining wall, the cistern, and the magazine. The other buildings were largely removed for a nineteenth-century gun emplacement.
Bath, in the parish of St. Thomas contains hot and cold springs discovered in the 1690s. The buildings are gone except for the foundation plaque, which is set in the wall of the modern bathhouse. The Botanic Garden was established during the American Revolution in 1779. The first breadfruit seedling from the Pacific was transplanted by the H.M.S. Bounty to Bath in 1793.
Cockpit Country is an area which stretches across the parishes of Trelawany, St. Elizabeth, and St. James. It was the sanctuary of the maroons, the runaway slaves who fought two major wars with the British, in the 1690s to the 1730s and again in the 1790s. It was ideal territory for maroons because of its rugged terrain, which was difficult to traverse. The white limestone formation produces a series of irregular circular arenas that look like inverted cones from the air, and terminate in most cases in a sinkhole in the apex. The British feared that the maroons might support a foreign enemy, and this made them the subject of much suspicion among the whites during the American Revolution. Their main historic towns are Trelawny Town (now Maroon Town) in St. James and Accompong in St. Elizabeth. Trelawny Town still contains barracks built by the British during the Maroon Wars of the 1690s to 1730s.
Falmouth in the parish of Trelawny was laid out in the 1770s following the creation of the new parish in 1770, which was named after Governor Sir William Trelawny, who died in office in 1772. It is a remarkable survival of a Georgian town in the Caribbean, although most of the buildings are now dilapidated. They date from between 1790 and 1830.
Fort Augusta guarded the narrows into Kingston Harbour and faces across the bay opposite Port Royal. It can be reached by the Portmore Causeway. The construction began in 1740 with the outbreak of war with Spain. It was named in honor of the mother of George III and completed in the mid-1750s. Three hundred people died from an explosion in the powder magazine when lightning struck three thousand barrels of powder in 1763. There remain important features of the fort, including the curtain and redan guarding the western approach. The magazine is now used as a chapel. The rest is used as a prison.
Fort Haldane has a commanding view of the town and harbor of Port Maria in the parish of St. Mary. It was named after General Haldane, the governor in 1759. It originally contained an officers’ house, barracks, and kitchen. A battery and brick pitched-roof powder magazine are all that survive.
Kingston, with its harbor and backdrop of the Blue Mountains, was the largest town in the British West Indies in the eighteenth century and the commercial center of Jamaica. It was at Kingston that the Bostonborn Eliphalet Fitch obtained the military supplies for Francisco Miranda that were used by the Spanish in the invasion of the Bahamas in 1782. Miranda was then a visiting Spanish official arranging a prisoner exchange under a flag of truce, but was later to become a revolutionary leader in Venezuela. Kingston was severely damaged by fire and an earthquake in 1907. Headquarters House, built by a merchant in 1750, is now the offices of the Jamaica National Trust. The Institute of Jamaica is at East Street. It houses the National Library, which possesses the finest collection of manuscripts and books pertaining to Jamaica and, more generally, to the West Indies. The Kingston Synagogue has some very early gravestones. The approaches to Kingston and its harbor were protected by Port Royal, Fort Augusta, Fort Johnston, Fort Small (Fort Clarence), and Rockfort.
Lucea is a port town in the parish of Hanover on the northwest coast of Jamaica. Fort Charlotte was one of the larger fortresses in the island, mounting twenty-two to twenty-five guns, of which three survive on rotary carriages. It is situated on a peninsula overlooking the harbor of the town. It was probably built around 1752. The walls were 6 feet thick and were built in 1761. The north of the island was particularly vulnerable to attacks by pirates and privateers. The admiral commanding the Jamaica station at Port Royal sent two ships to Lucea to help quell the slave rebellion that broke out in Hanover in 1776.
Montego Bay, in the parish of St. James, was the chief north-coast port for much of the eighteenth century. It was protected by Fort Montego (Fort Frederick), which had a regular garrison of British troops and was built in 1750. It had gun embrasures, barracks, and a hospital. It mounted two 24-pounders and eight 18-pounders in 1764. A cannon exploded in the face of a gunner during a gun salute to celebrate the surrender of Havana in 1760. The foundation stone of the parish church of St. James was laid the year of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, and the building was completed in 1782. Today there are remains of a large powder magazine.
Ocho Rios has the remains of a fort dating from about 1777 to 1780 and restored in the 1970s. It still has four cannon.
Plantation Houses. There are number of plantation houses of the period. Rose Hall, constructed between 1770 and 1780 near Montego Bay, is one of the grandest great houses in the Caribbean. It is open to the public. Although it is very impressive, only the original pavilion of the house remains. It had 12 bedrooms, 52 doors, and 365 windows. Greenwood Plantation House was built between 1780 and 1800 and is associated with the family of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It houses the largest plantation library on the island and has one of the finest museum and antique collections. Other great houses include Bellfied, near Montego Bay, which is a restored 1735 great house on the Barnett estate open to the public and still a functioning plantation; Cardiff Hall (c. 1765); Colbeck Castle near Old Harbour, St. Catherine, which was built as a fortified house in the late 1660s; Drax Hall in St. Ann (established 1690); Good Hope in Trelawny (c. 1755), which contains furniture original to the house; Green Park in Trelawny; Hampstead and Retreat estates, which belonged to a colored woman, Jane Stone, who died at the age of eighty in 1774; Halse Hall, a seventeenth-century fortified home in the Rio Minho Valley; Minard in St. Ann; Seville in St. Ann (1745); Fairfield in St. James, built in 1776; Stewart Castle, near Falmouth, a fortified home dating from the early eighteenth century; and Stokes Hall in St. Thomas, which was one of the earliest seventeenth-century plantations and is now a ruin maintained by the National Trust. There are examples of slave hospitals at Orange Valley in Trelawny and Kenilworth in Hanover.
Port Antonio in Portland is one of the finest ports in Jamaica, with a backdrop of the Blue Mountains. Fort George is located on a peninsula called Upper Titchfield. It was designed by Charles Lilly, who was for many years the chief military engineer in Jamaica. He began the fort when he was nearly seventy, following his return to the island in 1728. It contained embrasures for twenty-two guns in a 10-foot-thick wall, which remains together with the original parade ground, bastion, and old barracks. It is now Titchfield High School. The courthouse dates from the eighteenth century.
Port Henderson (New Brighton), St. Catherine, is a seaside village about 4 miles from Passage Fort and 6 miles from Spanish Town. It became the sea link to the capital, Spanish Town, with the silting up of the Rio Cobre, and provided much of the stone for the fortifications of the island. It contains the Long House, a hotel erected about 1780 by the entrepreneur John Henderson. A small redoubt was constructed during the frenzy of the invasion scare of 1778. The semicircular platform can still be seen about 20 feet up the hillside near the junction of the Fort Augusta Road. It probably contained about half a dozen guns to prevent landings by small boats. Rodney’s Lookout, a signal station, was built on the crest of Port Henderson in response to invasion scares in the early 1780s and was damaged by the earthquake of 1782. The ruins are on the top of a flight of steps near the Apostle’s Battery. It was probably renamed following Rodney’s victory at the Saintes. The British feared that an invasion might be accomplished by a landing in the Hellshire Hills, where the enemy might evade the guns of Kingston Harbour and enter Spanish Town. The British built two forts with semicircular platforms, both of which survive. Fort Small (renamed Fort Clarence in 1799) was built on the end of Port Henderson Hill. It was heavily armed, to prevent ships supporting an enemy landing, with eight 24-pounders and one 10-inch mortar. Five of the 24-pounders remain, on their original platform with the carriages rotted away, together with the magazine and platform. Fort Johnston was built on the plain that separates Port Henderson Hill from the Hellshire Hump ridge. It was more lightly armed than the other forts, with the intention of resisting infantry troops rather than ships. The magazine is lost, but the barracks and platform remain with all the original cannon, four 12-pounders and five 6-pounders.
Port Morant is a port town 7 miles from Morant Bay that was protected by Fort Lindsay. The fort is on the opposite side of the bay from the town. It was fortified in the mid-eighteenth century, replacing an earlier fort, Fort William, that was abandoned due to erosion. There are remnants, but the battery is gone.
Port Royal was a British naval base for the Jamaican squadron located in Kingston Harbour on a 7-mile peninsula known as the Palisadoes. The dockyard is next to the site of a sunken city that was once the second-largest town in English America after Boston, until two-thirds of the original town was destroyed by an earthquake and a tidal wave on 7 June 1692. The dockyard supplied, refitted, and watered ships of the Royal Navy between 1735 and 1905. Admiral Sir George Rodney did much to develop the facility when he was the resident commander between 1771 and 1774. Sir Peter Parker, who had collaborated with Sir Henry Clinton in the ill-fated attempt on Charleston, South Carolina, in 1776, commanded the Jamaican fleet at Port Royal between 1778 and 1782. Horatio Nelson first visited the dockyard in May 1777 at the age of nineteen, and he commanded the batteries at Fort Charles in 1779. He shared quarters with Captain William Cornwallis, the brother of the general Lord Charles Cornwallis, who surrendered at Yorktown. After returning to Jamaica from an expedition to Nicaragua in 1780, Nelson was nursed back to life by the colored proprietress of his lodging house, who was called Cubah, or Couba Cornwallis. The dockyard was defended by a group of fortresses that included Fort Charles, renamed after Charles II, which was built between 1660 and 1696. It alone among the fortresses encircling the harbor survived the hurricane of 1692. It was rebuilt in its present form in 1722 to 1724. The wooden walkway in Fort Charles is now called Nelson’s Quarterdeck. The batteries on the sea front had a double tier of guns that numbered 104 in 1767. The fort now contains a maritime museum. St. Peter’s Church, built in 1725 to 1726, contains many naval and military monuments. There are some remains of a fort erected at the eastern end of Port Royal which was called “Prince William Henry’s Polygon” when it was completed in 1783, and which was much damaged by the hurricane of 1787. The northern bastion is located outside the eastern wall enclosing Morgan’s Harbour beach club. There is a museum with archaeological artifacts of the sunken city of Port Royal in the Royal Naval Hospital (1818–1819).
Rio Bueno contains the deepest harbor in the island. Columbus anchored his ships for three days here on his first visit to Jamaica in 1494. Fort Dundas was built during the American Revolution and dates from 1778.
Rockfort dates from 1729. It was designed to protect the eastern routes to Kingston. It is largely intact with its large bastion to the south, its entrance gate, its magazine, and its northern curtain dug into the Long Mountain. It was capable of mounting seventeen guns. The sites of the guardhouse and barracks are visible. There is a track to a redoubt, about 100 feet high and 200 yards east of the fort, on Long Mountain.
St. Andrew. The Parish Church dates from 1700, although there were earlier structures, and the parish registers date back to 1666. It contains many impressive monuments of the eighteenth century. Stony Hill had a garrison and barracks. There is a small magazine that survives. It was to be a last refuge in the hills in the event of an invasion in which the enemy seized the Liguanea plain. Three redoubts were constructed in 1778. The first, with a 24-pounder and four 6-pounder cannon, was on the site of the present Fort Belle, just to the north of the bridge and over the gully on the main road out of Kingston. A smaller, second battery was constructed a few hundred yards northward on the site of the present location of 34 Stilwell Road. The third battery, designed for four guns, remains intact at Bridgemont Heights.
Spanish Town, also known as St. Jago de la Vega, was capital of Jamaica until 1870. The impressive buildings around the main square indicate the economic importance of Jamaica to Britain. The King’s House, the residence of the governor, was begun during the administration of Lieutenant Governor Henry Moore in 1759 to 1762; he later became governor of New York during the Stamp Act crisis. The house was completed in 1762 to 1765 following the arrival of Governor William Henry Lyttleton, who was a former governor of South Carolina. The dimensions are much larger than those of the governor’s palace at Williamsburg, the capital of the largest colony in North America (Virginia). Unfortunately, only the façade survives today following a fire that gutted the building in 1925. There is an archaeological museum next to the house and the Jamaican People’s Museum of Craft and Technology. The House of the Assembly on the east side of the square took some twenty years to complete from the time it was started around 1762. In December 1774 the assembly members composed a petition to George III sympathetic to the Americans that elicited the thanks of Congress and the Connecticut House of Representatives. The Rodney Memorial on the north side of the square was commissioned by the island assembly to celebrate the victory of Admiral Sir George Rodney against de Grasse at the battle of the Saintes in 1782. The statue was designed by John Bacon, the leading contemporary English sculptor, who portrayed Rodney in classical garb. The Anglican Cathedral of St. James was built as the parish church of St. Catherine in 1714. It contains numerous monuments, including one by Bacon and a memorial to Sir Basil Keith, who died during his tenure as governor in 1777. Spanish Town contained a barracks for one of the two peacetime regiments of the British army, but the current structure dates from 1791. The Jamaica Archives are housed in the building behind the Rodney Memorial.
For further information contact: Jamaica Tourist Board, 3530 Ashford Dunwoody Road N.E., Box 304, Atlanta, Ga. 30319; phone: (770) 452-7799; fax: (770) 452-0220; and Jamaica Historical Society, c/o Department of History, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Kingston 7, Jamaica. At the National Library Institute of Jamaica, advance permission to use the library’s resources is recommended. You can find the library at 12 East Street, 6 Kingston, Jamaica, or via telephone at (809) 922-0620. The Jamaica Archives are located in Spanish Town, Jamaica and can be contacted at (809) 984-2581. At the Registrar General records of births, baptisms, deaths, burials, and marriages are available. The registrar is located at Vital Records Information, Twickenham Park, Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica, and can also be reached at (876) 984-3041 / 5, http://www.rgd.gov.jm, or [email protected]
Martinique was the headquarters of the French navy in the Caribbean. It was the base of the French admirals associated with key events in the Revolutionary War—d’Estaing and de Grasse. The 425-square-mile island was settled by the French in 1635 and it remains under French government as an overseas department. In 1776 Congress sent the twenty-four-year-old William Bingham as an agent to the island with instructions to procure munitions for the Continental army and to encourage a French alliance against the British. He held court with the captains of American privateers and issued blank commissions for privateers in the American Coffee House in Fort-de-France. The protection given by the island to American privateers became a major issue between the British government and the court of France. In January 1779 Admiral John Byron blockaded d’Estaing’s French fleet for five months at Fort Royal. In 1781 Sir Samuel Hood unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the entry of de Grasse into Martinique before his junction with additional ships in the harbor and his departure for Yorktown.
Fort-de France, formerly known as Fort Royal, has been the capital of Martinique since 1680. Fort St. Louis gave shelter to the fleet and dates from 1638. It is still used by the army, and it has its original ramparts and dungeons. Jacques Dyel du Parquet began construction on the rocky peninsula in the bay in 1640. It was attacked by the Dutch in 1674 and captured by the English in 1673 (as well as in 1794 and 1809). It was much strengthened in the early eighteenth century according to the classic system of Vauban. It had a moat, which was filled in to become the Boulevard of the Chevalier de Ste.-Marthe. The town was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1890.
La Pagerie is a sugar plantation near Trois-Islets on the southern shore of Fort de France Bay. It was associated with the future Empress Marie Joséphine Rose Tasher de la Pagerie, who was born in 1766 and married Napoleon in 1796. The kitchen, a single stone building, remains from her time; it is now a museum. Joséphine was baptized at Trois Ilets in an eighteenth-century church which still exists, but she lived most of her first eight years on St. Lucia.
Plantations and Plantation Houses. Leyritz Plantation dates from the early 1700s, when it was built for a cavalry officer, Michel de Leryritz, who was a native of Bordeaux. The 250-acre sugar plantation borders the Altantic Coast and has a backdrop to the west of Mount Pelée. It contains a great house, granary, chapel, sugar factory, and original slave huts. Other plantation houses on Martinique include the Dominican Fond Saint-Jacques Estate, built in 1658 and rebuilt in 1769; Pécoul (1760); La Frégate, a seventeenth-century house; and La Gaoulé, located at La Diament on the south coast, which dates from 1740. The St. James plantation house is now a museum of the history and production of rum.
Pointe du Diamant (Diamond Rock) is off the southern tip of the western coast and had a fortress. It is visible from Pigeon Island on St. Lucia.
La Poterie, a large clay factory, was established in 1694 at Trois Ilets. It includes the manager’s house, slave cottages, kilns, stores, administration, and ancillary building.
St. Pierre was leveled and thirty thousand people killed by the eruption of Mont Pelé in 1902.
For further information contact: Bureau du Patrimoine, 43 bis rue Jacques Cazotte, 97200 Fort-de-France, Martinique; phone: 596 63 85 55; French Government Tourist Office, Martinique, 444 Madison Ave, 16th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10022; phone: (900) 990-0040 / (202) 659-7779 / (800) 391-4909; website: www.martinique.org; Saba Tourist Bureau, phone: 011 599 416 2231; Archives Départinentales de la Martinique, B.P. 720 Boulevard du Chevalier de Sainte-Marie, 97262 Fort de France, Martinique; Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, Bibliotheque Universitaire, Campus Universitaire, BP7210 Schoelcher, Martinique; Archives Départementales de la Martinique (Martinique Departmental Archive), P.O. Box 649, 97262 Fort-de-France Cedex.
Montserrat was one of the four principal islands in the colony of the British Leeward Islands at the time of the American Revolution. Following French entry into the American Revolution in 1778, it constantly faced the peril of a French attack, especially during the voyages of Admiral d’Estaing in the spring of 1779. On 28 and 29 April of that year the governor expected an imminent invasion by five French ships of the line off the island. In July the French fleet was in sight for three days, during which time the ships exchanged fire with the batteries around Plymouth. Their aim was the surrender of the island. Following the surrender of St. Kitts in 1782, Montserrat also submitted to the French, but was restored to Britain by the peace in 1783. The island was severely damaged by a volcanic eruption of the Soufriere Hills on 18 July 1995 which destroyed the capital town of Plymouth. The island is beginning to attract tourists back, but a large area affected by the volcano is prohibited to both visitors and residents in an exclusion zone. The boundary for the exclusion zone is from Plymouth and southwards to St. Patrick’s through Windy Hill and Harris, and down to the east coast at the site of W. H. Bramble Airport.
Nevis was a British colony that was first settled by the English in 1628 and that became independent, in a federation with St. Kitts, in 1983. It is separated by a strait of 2 miles from St. Kitts. Alexander Hamilton, the aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War and the secretary of the treasury in the first administration of Washington, was born on Nevis. There were riots in Nevis against the Stamp Act in 1765. Following the entry of France into the American Revolution, this 35-square-mile island was constantly threatened with invasion, especially by Admiral d’Estaing in 1779. On 27 April of that year, five of his ships came down in a direct line of battle off Charlestown. The headmost ship, of 84 guns, came within reach of cannon fire. The inhabitants expected an attack at every minute, but the ships tacked and stood to windward. On 3 May, Admiral Byron was off Nevis looking for de Grasse with 20 ships of the line and 2 frigates. On 22 July the French fleet again passed very near to the forts. In February 1782 the island submitted to the French following the surrender of St. Kitts, but was restored to the British by the peace of 1783.
Bath House was built by John Huggins in 1778. It is located near sulphur springs which were believed to have medicinal qualities. As early as 1625, the waters were recommended in an account by Robert Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt near Oxford. The bathhouse continues to function, but the hotel, which once had a ballroom and was intended to accommodate fifty guests, is in ruins. It commands a pleasant view of St. Kitts and St. Eustatius.
Charlestown became the capital after an earthquake damaged Jamestown in 1660. Many of the original buildings, including the Court House, were destroyed in the earthquake of 1843. It was the scene of Stamp Act riots on 1 November 1765 after the collector of stamps fled from St. Kitts following riots on the night of 31 October. In Charlestown the “Sons of Liberty” burnt two houses and loaded the stamps on to a navy longboat which they then set on fire. The Museum of Nevis History is located in Hamilton House, which is built on the foundations of the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton. He was born out of wedlock some time between 1755 and 1757 (most probably in January of the latter year). His origins were always a cause of embarrassment to him, and the jest of his political opponents in the United States. He lived on the island until the age of nine, then moved to St. Croix with his mother. The two-story building was constructed around 1680, destroyed in an earthquake in 1840, and then restored in 1983. Prince William Street commemorates the 1787 royal visit of Prince William, a younger son of George III. He served in the Royal Navy in the Caribbean during the later years of the American Revolution. There is a Jewish cemetery in Government Road with nineteen tombstones dating from 1654 to 1768.
Fort Charles guarded the southern entrance to Charlestown and was built in 1680. It once enclosed six acres, with thirteen cannon, two bastions facing out to sea, two ramparts, and moats on the leeward side. The perimeter wall, the cistern, and the powder magazine survive, together with dismounted guns with “G.R.” on the barrel, for “Georgius Rex” (King George), and “W.C.” on the other other side, for the makers Walder & Co. of Rotherham, England. This was the site where the Nevis Council and President John Herbert met to sign the capitulation terms to the French in February 1782. There are also some remains of fortifications at Mosquito Point and a battery at Saddle Hill (1740).
Montpelier was the location of the marriage of Horatio Nelson and Frances Nisbet on 11 March 1787. She was the widow of a local doctor, and he was captain of the H.M.S. Boreas. Prince William Henry, the future King William IV, gave the bride away. The plantation belonged to her uncle, John Herbert, the president of the council of Nevis. It was the largest house on the island at the time. Nelson was in Nevis enforcing the Navigation Acts against illicit trade between the island and the United States. He was virtually prisoner at one time on board his own ship, facing suits from planters who opposed restrictions on the trade with the newly independent United States.
Mount Nevis, or Nevis Peak (3,596 feet), has views from the summit of Barbuda, Redonda, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, and Saba.
The Nelson Museum is located near Government House. Originally, the collection belonged to Robert Abrahams, a lawyer and author from Philadelphia, who exhibited it at his residence at Morning Star. It includes memorabilia from the life of Admiral Horatio Nelson, including parts of the set of the Royal Worcester china plates commissioned for Nelson’s wedding in Nevis. Nelson spent much of his career in the Caribbean during the American Revolutionary War.
Plantation Houses. The Eden Brown Estate was built in 1740. It was never occupied, but is an impressive ruin. Other estate houses include Mount Pleasant, which dates from the 1770s; Mountravers, which has a slave prison, and dates from the 1770s; the Nisbet Plantation House, which has a mill dating to about 1778; and the Old Manor estate house, near Clay Ghaut, which dates from the late seventeenth century.
St. John’s Fig Tree Church. The parish register contains an entry for the marriage of Horatio Nelson to Frances Nisbet in 1787. There are tombstones in the graveyard dating from 1682.
For further contact information see st. kitts.
The 3,340-square-mile island was a Spanish colony between 1508 and 1898, when it was ceded to the United States. During the American Revolution there was much discussion among the British about invading Puerto Rico. It was an object advocated by the governor of the Leeward Islands, William Mathew Burt. Major General John Vaughan drew up plans for such an expedition in December 1779, but the British had too few troops and were largely on the defensive in the Caribbean. Furthermore, like Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the defenses of Puerto Rico were greatly strengthened in the decade before the American Revolution as part of the naval and colonial defense program initiated by Charles III. The reform of the garrison and improvement in the defenses was implemented by Alejandro O’Reilly and Tomas O’Daly, who were both descendants of “Wild Geese” Irishmen who served with the Spanish army after fleeing the British in Ireland. O’Reilly later presided over the transfer of New Orleans from France to Spain in 1769 and became governor of Louisiana (1766–1770).
Fort San Cristobal is half a mile east of El Morro on Avenida Muñoz Rivera leading into the Plaza de Colon. The original batteries were greatly strengthened between 1765 and 1772 by an engineer named Tomas O’Daly.
Fort de San Gerónimo del Boquerón in the Condado Lagoon was begun in the sixteenth century. It contains a museum relating to the military history of Puerto Rico.
San Juan was named by the conquistador Juan Ponce de León. It has some eight hundred historic structures and six monuments designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was primarily a military town because the port served the ships sailing between Spain and its colonies in the Americas. La Fortaleza is the city’s oldest fortress, built about 1520, with a tower and gate that date from 1540. It became a storehouse for bullion and the residence of governors, and it has remained so for four hundred years. The major fortress, the San Felipe del Morro, dates from 1539 but it was redesigned during the American Revolution and completed in 1783. The six fortified levels rise 140 feet above sea level. It protected the entrances to the bay and repelled an attack of Drake and Hawkins in 1595. The castle has a panoramic view of San Juan. El Canuelo is a small fort in the harbor. The old city is surrounded by the original wall, which dates from 1630. The Castillo San Cristóbal was built in the decade before the American Revolution, between 1766 and 1772, and was modified in 1783. There is a military museum in the Fort San Jerónimo (1788–1797). The Dominican Convent, El Convento Dominicano, was begun in 1523 on land donated by Ponce de León. The seventeenth-century Carmelite convent is now a hotel called El Convento. The Casa del Callejón is an eighteenth-century mansion on Calle Fortaleza. It is now a museum which has exhibits on colonial architecture in the old city. The Cathedral of San Juan de Bautista is at Cristo and Luna. It was founded by the Dominicans in 1523 and contains the tomb of Ponce de León. Casa Blanca (1523) was the fortified mansion overlooking Juan Bay which was occupied by the family of Ponce de León. It is now a museum.
For further information contact: Archivo General de Puerto Rico, Instituto de Cultura, P.O. Box 9024184, San Juan, PR 00902-4184; phone: (787) 722-2113; Archivo Historico de Caguas, Departamento de Desarrollo Cultural Municipio de Caguas, P.O. Box 907, Caguas, PR 00726; phone: (787) 258-0070; Archivo Historico de Mayaguez, Municipio de Mayaguez, P.O. Box 447, Mayaguez, PR 00681; phone: (787) 833-5195; Archivo Historico Municipal, Municipio de San German, P.O. Box 85, San German, PR 00683; phone: (787) 892-7979; Biblioteca Regional del Caribe (Caribbean Regional Library) y de Estudios Latinoamericanos, P.O. Box 21927, San Juan, P.R. 00931-1927; phone: (787) 764-0000; email: [email protected] or [email protected]; Archivo General de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico General Archive), Apartado 4184, San Juan, PR 00905-4184; Registro de Propiédad (Property Registrar), Sección 2, Apartado 2551, Ponce, PR 00733-2551; Sociédad Puertorriqueña de Genealogía (Puerto Rican Genealogical Society), 103 Avenida Universidad, Ste. 239, Río Piedras, PR 00925; Puerto Rico Institute of Culture, Museums, and Parks; phone: (787) 724-5477.
St. Bartholomew is an island of only 8 square miles which was occupied by France in 1648. It was briefly captured by the British in January 1779 and recaptured by the French on 28 February 1779. The French ceded the island in 1784 to Sweden in exchange for trading rights at Gothenburg. It was restored to France in 1877.
For further information contact: St. Barthelemy (St. Barts), French Government Tourist Office, 444 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor; New York, N.Y. 10022; phone: (212) 838-7800; fax: (212) 838-7855; website: www.st-barths.com; www.caribbean-direct.com.
St. Croix was the largest Danish colony in the Virgin Islands from 1733 until its sale to the United States in 1917. At the age of nine Alexander Hamilton moved to the 82-square-mile island with his mother, and there, years later, published his first article, in the Royal Danish American Gazette. A native of St. Croix, Abram Markoe, organized the first troop of Light Horse in Philadelphia. The flag he commissioned for them was a forerunner of the Stars and Stripes. (He later gave his property for the site of the first presidential house in the United States.) On 25 October 1776 Frederiksted in St. Croix became the first foreign port to salute the American flag, but it was unofficial, occurring when the ship was leaving the port with a small cargo of gunpowder. The first official salute is therefore usually attributed to St. Eustatius, in the following November.
Christiansted was founded in 1734 by the Danish West India and Guinea Company. Alexander Hamilton, together with his mother and brother, lived in a two-story house at 34 Company Street next to the Anglican church after they were abandoned by James Hamilton in 1766. His mother ran a shop on the ground floor. She bought some of her merchandise from the New York merchants David Beekman and Nicholas Cruger, who were to become the patrons of the young Alexander Hamilton. She suddenly died on 19 Feburary 1768, and her small inheritance was claimed by the son by her first marriage, which meant that there was nothing for her two boys by James Hamilton. The boys were then placed under the guardianship of their first cousin, Peter Lytton. On 16 July he committed suicide. His father arrived to adopt the boys but died shortly afterwards, leaving them again orphaned and alone. Alexander then began to clerk for Beekman and Cruger. He became conversant in several languages and in dealing with different currencies, and traded throughout the Leeward Islands. He moved to the home of Thomas Stevens, a well-respected merchant, in King Street, and also found a mentor in the pastor of the Scottish Presbyterian church, Hugh Knox, who had moved to the island from Saba. It was through this connection that Hamilton left to study at the Elizabethtown Academy in New Jersey. The Alexander Hamilton House at 55 King Street was built in the 1750s, then rebuilt following a fire in the 1970s. On the same street, 52 King Street is an early-eighteenth-century residence. The old West India and Guinea Company warehouse was built in 1749 and is now the post office. The Steeple Building (1753) was the first Lutheran church. Fort Christiansvaern (1734 and partly rebuilt in 1772) and Government House (built between 1747 and 1830) are located on the waterfront of Christiansted; they are a National Historic Site. The fort is well preserved, with barracks, dungeon, powder magazine, officers, kitchen, battery, battlements, a double entrance staircase, and sally port.
Frederiksted lost many of its original buildings owing to a tidal wave in 1867 and a fire in 1878. Along the waterfront was the warehouse of Nicholas Cruger, the New York employer of Alexander Hamilton. Fort Frederik, begun in 1752, was the site of the (unofficial) first foreign salute of the American flag. The fort retains its garrison, barracks, arsenal, canteen, stables, courtyard, and commandants’ quarters (1760).
The Grange was the plantation of the maternal aunt of Alexander Hamilton, Ann Faucette, and her husband James Lytton, located outside the capital Christiansted. The couple had left Nevis for St. Croix. They hosted Hamilton’s mother, Rachel Faucette, and grandmother, Mary Faucette, who also left Nevis for St. Croix. Hamilton’s mother had her ill-fated wedding at the age of sixteen to Johann Michael Lavien in St. Croix. Her husband later had her imprisoned for adultery in the fort, Christiansvaern. Following her release after three to five months in prison she fled the island, leaving behind a son by her marriage, and sought refuge in St. Kitts in 1750. Lavien succeeded in obtaining a formal divorce in 1759 when Rachel moved to Nevis, where she gave birth to Alexander, whose father was James Hamilton. Lavien referred in the divorce papers to her “whore-children” born after her departure from St. Croix. In April 1765 Rachel returned to St. Croix when James Hamilton was representing Archibald Ingram of St. Kitts in a debt-collection case against Alexander Moir in Christiansted. James Hamilton absconded upon the completion of the case, abandoning his wife and children in St. Croix. Her sister and brother-in-law, who owned the Grange, had already left the island, sold the plantation, and returned to Nevis. There is a monument erected in her memory by Gertrude Atherton.
For further information contact: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, P.O. Box 4538, Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands 00822; phone: (340) 773-0495; fax: (340) 773-5074.
ST. DOMINGUE. Seehaiti.
An island of only 9 square miles, St. Eustatius was settled by the Dutch in 1635. During the American Revolution it was able to exploit the neutrality of the Netherlands (until 1781) to become the leading source of supplies and gunpowder to the Patriots in North America. The island was so wealthy that it was known as the “Golden Rock.” On 16 November 1776 Fort Oranje fired what is often regarded as the first official salute of the American flag at the Andrew Doria, a ship of the Continental navy which was carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence. The British observed the scene from 8 miles away at Brimstone Hill in St. Kitts. The date of the event is now a national holiday. Sir George Rodney and General John Vaughan captured the island on 3 February 1781. They carried out the attack before the inhabitants were even aware of the outbreak of war between Britain and the Netherlands. Rodney ordered that the Dutch flag remain flying and surprised many ships. Rodney proceeded to plunder the island and auction the proceeds. But the capture proved a fiasco: Rodney failed to intercept de Grasse’s fleet en route from France to Yorktown, where it played a critical role in the defeat of the British. Rodney sailed home rather than follow de Grasse, pleading ill health, but his first priority on returning to Britain was to defend his behavior at St. Eustatius against his critics in Parliament. The fleet carrying the prizes from St. Eustatius back to England was captured by the French. On 26 November the marquis de Bouillé, the French governor of Martinique, surprised the garrison and retook the island from the British. The British officer in command was later court-martialed and found guilty of neglect. The French seized 2 million livres, including the pay for the British troops in North America.
Fort Amsterdam, more correctly named Concordia, was located at the northeast of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean, near a cliff overlooking the Bargine Bay and Great Bay. It is marked on a French map of 1781.
Fort Oranje (Fort Orange) in Oranjestad was built in 1629 by the French. It was rebuilt, enlarged, and named by the Zeelanders in 1636. It was constructed around a plaza facing the sea, and had sixteen cannon. Abraham Revené lived in the commander’s house when he performed the salute in reply to the thirteen-gun salute by Isaiah Robinson, the commander of the Andrew Doria. There is a plaque in the courtyard commemorating the salute of the American flag on 16 November 1776, presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 December 1939.
Forts and Batteries. In addition to Fort Oranje and Fort Amsterdam, there are numerous remnants of former military installations dating from the period of the American Revolution. These include Fort de Windt, which is believed to date from the governorship of Jan de Windt, between September 1753 and January 1775; Bourbon’s Battery, or Four Gun Battery (1780s); Fort Amsterdam, or Waterfort, from the late seventeenth century; Royal Battery (1780s); Tumble Down Dick Battery (early eighteenth century); Jenkin’s Bay Battery (1780s); Stronghold at Venus Bay (1780s); Jussac’s Battery (1780s); Fort Panga, or Signal Hill (1780s); Battery St. Louis (1780s); Battery Corre (1780s); Battery de Windt, or Lisbourne’s Battery (third quarter of the eighteenth century); Frederick’s Battery; Nassau’s Battery (third quarter of the eighteenth century); Fort Dolijn, also called a Have’s Batter (early eighteenth century); and Bouillé’s Battery (1780s).
Lynch Plantation Museum is a museum dedicated to domestic life on the island, with a collection of household artifacts and antiques. It is located on the northeastern side of the island.
Oranjestad contains ruins and evidence of the commercial vitality of the town during the period of the American Revolution, especially in Lower Town around the bay where building began in the 1750s. The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum is located in one of the oldest and most attractive houses in the Upper Town, the Simon Doncker House Museum. Sir George Rodney made it his headquarters after he captured the island in 1781. The date of the building is not known, but the house is marked on a plantation map of 1775. The Government Guesthouse is an eighteenth-century building which was restored and officially opened by Queen Beatrix on 16 November 1992. The Dutch Reformed Church in Oranjestad was built in 1755. It was in ruins until the tower was restored in 1981 and subsequent work was performed in 2000.
Synagogue “Honen Dalim” in Oranjestad, built in 1739 but now in ruins, is the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. The cemetery has graves dating back to 1742. Rodney selected the Jews for particularly harsh punishment, accusing them of aiding the American Revolution, when he sacked the island in 1781. The graves of several traders from New England, particularly Rhode Island, are located near the cemetery, where the names are mostly Portuguese, being primarily Sephardic Jews from Brazil.
For more information contact: St. Eustatius Historical Foundation, P.O. Box 71, Oranjestad A25, St. Eustatius, Netherland Antilles; St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation, Fort Oranje, Oranjestad, St. Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles, Dutch Caribbean; phone: (599-3) 182433; fax (599-3) 182433; email: [email protected]; website: www.statiatourism.com.
St. John was a Danish colony from 1718 until its sale to the United States in 1917. About two-thirds of the 20-square-mile island was designated a National Park in 1956. Annaberg Estate dates from the 1780s. The U.S. National Park Service here gives demonstrations of the operations of a plantation. Frederik’s Fort, at the east end of the island at Coral Bay, was built on the site of an earlier fortress on Fortsberg Hill in 1736, partly in response to the slave rebellion of 1733. It therefore contained defenses directed inland as well as towards the sea, such as the battery at Cruz Bay. There is also a coastal battery facing the entrance to Coral Bay lower down on Fortsberg Hill. Reef Bay plantation has a great house dating from before 1780.
For further information contact: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, P.O. Box 200, Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI 00831; phone: (340) 776-6450; fax: (340) 779-4097; Virgin Islands National Park, Cruz Bay Visitor Center, phone: (340) 776-6201 ext. 238.
St. Kitts was the oldest British colony in the Caribbean from the time of the first English settlement in 1623; it became independent in 1983. The 68-square-mile island was divided with the French for much of the time between 1627 and 1713. Alexander Hamilton’s parents met in St. Kitts in the 1750s. His father, James Hamilton, the younger son of a prominent Scottish family, had left Scotland to seek his fortune in the West Indies. He evidently had little success, because he was listed in the council minutes in 1748 as a watchman for the port of Basseterre. The two were unable to marry because Rachel was technically still married to a failed planter in St. Croix. St. Kitts was the scene of the most ferocious Stamp Act riots in the British Caribbean in 1765. During the Revolutionary War the island was under constant threat of attack by the French. Throughout much of the month of February 1779, Admiral d’Estaing hovered menacingly off the island with five ships of the line. On 3 February, Fig Tree Fort fired on the ships and hit the deck of the Iphegenic. On 6 March the Governor Trumbull, one of the most successful American privateers in the Caribbean, was taken off St. Kitts after a pursuit of several hours. In May d’Estaing was able to take St. Vincent after Admiral Byron hurriedly left St. Lucia, fearing for the safety of St. Kitts. On 15 July, Byron returned to St. Kitts with his badly damaged, blood-drenched ships following a naval battle off Grenada with d’Estaing. The French again appeared off Basseterre with twenty-six sail of the line, one large frigate, and five thousand men. A battle seemed imminent, with the two fleets almost in gunshot range. D’Estaing instead sailed to Cap François and then prepared to cooperate with American land forces at Savannah, Georgia. On 11 January 1782, accompanied by the same victorious French army and commanders who fought at Yorktown, Admiral de Grasse landed unopposed in St. Kitts with eight thousand troops commanded by the governor of Martinique, the marquis de Bouillé, who immediately captured the capital city of Basseterre. He then proceeded to besiege Brimstone Hill. Almost two weeks after the start of the siege, Admiral Hood arrived with a relief expedition of twenty-two ships from Barbados against the superior fleet of twenty-nine ships under de Grasse. In a brilliant maneuver, Hood managed to lure the French fleet from its moorings and to displace it with his own fleet, but apart from an exchange of messages on the first day, he was unable to communicate with the besieged garrison. He succeeded in landing troops off Frigate Bay under General Robert Prescott, who engaged in an intense action for which both sides claimed victory. On 12 February, after almost five weeks of resistance, the sick and exhausted garrison on Brimstone Hill, depleted of ammunition and provisions, with only five hundred men left in defense, finally submitted to the French, giving them full possession of St. Kitts and the neighboring island of Nevis. St. Kitts was returned to Britain by the peace terms of 1783.
Basseterre was the capital of St. Kitts. The area around Independence Square with its central gardens was laid out on land purchased in 1750. The town suffered major fires in 1776 (and again in 1867). There are few of the original buildings from the time of the American Revolution. The town was the scene of Stamp Act riots in 1765 contemporaneous with those of Boston. On the evening of 31 October a crowd of three to four hundred people assembled at Noland’s Tavern. They seized the stamp official and paraded him through the public market. They knocked him down, and he claimed that they were ready to murder him but for the intervention of “some negroes” who knew him. The crowd continued on the rampage, forcing the collector to flee to Nevis. On 5 November the crowd assembled again, burning effigies of the stamp master and his deputy. They finished the evening with a dinner and toasts to “Liberty, Property and no Stamps.” During the American Revolutionary War, Basseterre was the port where the convoys gathered from the British colonies in the eastern Caribbean for the “homeward” voyage to Britain. The bay was protected by Fort Smith, of which nothing now remains, and Fort Thomas, named after Governor George Thomas, which stands in the grounds of a hotel of the same name. Fort Street was the site of a third fort, which stood in the center of the waterfront. The Anglican church of St. George, like most ecclesiastical buildings in the islands, has been repeatedly rebuilt since its construction in 1670. The churchyard, also in common with the churches throughout the islands, has gravestones from the early eighteenth century.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dubbed the Gibraltar of the West Indies, Brimstone Hill (779 feet high) was first fortified in 1690 by Sir Timothy Thornhill, and it remained in regular use until the withdrawal of the last garrison in 1853. The site consists of bastions, barracks, offices, storerooms, and magazines, spread across 30 acres. There is a museum relating the history of the island which is housed in some of the barrack rooms in the citadel. The citadel on the summit and the large bastion just below were added in the late eighteenth century. The fortress has views of the western side of the island, as well as of Nevis, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Martin, and St. Barthélémy. The landing of the French at Basseterre in January 1781 forced the twelve thousand British military regulars and militia to retreat to a defensive position 9 miles away in the formidable fortifications at Brimstone Hill, against which the French began siege operations. The garrison submitted after almost five weeks of resistance.
Charles Fort, Sandy Point, situated on Cleverly’s Hill under Brimstone Hill and named after King Charles II, was a military post from 1670 until it was abandoned in 1854. Some forty years later, in 1890, it was used as a Hansen home (leper asylum). The home was closed in 1996. The point was a suitable site to protect and deflect ships making for Sandy Point Road.
Frigate Bay. Fort Tyson overlooks the bay where British troops landed from Hood’s ships on 18 February 1782, commanded by General Robert Prescott.
Plantation Houses. St. Kitts’ plantations include Belmont Estate Yard; Fairview Inn (1698–1701); Lodge Great House; and Shadwell Great House, built in the second quarter of the eighteenth century.
For more information contact: St. Kitts-Nevis Tourist Board, Church Street, P.O. Box 132, Basseterre, phone: (809) 465-2620; National Archives, Government Headquarters, Church Street, Box 186, Basseterre, St. Kitts; phone: (869) 465-2521. Researchers should contact the archivist before visiting because research space is limited. Also useful are: St. Christopher Heritage Society, Bank Street, P.O. Box 338, Basseterre, St. Kitts; phone: (869) 465-5584; St. Kitts and Nevis Department of Tourism, 414 East 75th Street, 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10021; phone: (800) 582-6208; fax: (212) 734-6511; website: www.stkitts-nevis.com.
The 238-square-mile island was a French colony at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. It was captured by the British in an expedition commanded by Admiral Samuel Barrington and Major General James Grant on 13 December 1778. Britain gave up Philadelphia partly to free five thousand troops for the conquest of St. Lucia. Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in chief in North America, attributed his failure to wage a more aggressive war to the loss of these troops and the failure of the government to replace them with additional reinforcements. Sir George Rodney had persuaded the government of the necessity of taking the island in order to provide a base for the British navy to shadow the French navy at Martinique. The British gave the island priority second only to Antigua and Jamaica. The French made several unsuccessful attempts to recapture St. Lucia, which was restored to France by the peace of 1783. The high quality local rum is appropriately called Admiral Rodney and is sold in boxes commemorating the battle of the Saintes.
Castries (Petit Carenage). During the British occupation it was called Carenage Town, and only acquired its present name after the French reoccupation in 1784. It possessed one of the finest harbors in the Caribbean. The town has few original buildings from the period of the American Revolution owing to the damage caused by the hurricane of 1780, together with the fires of 1796, 1812, 1948, and 1951.
Grand Cul-du-Sac Bay was the landing place of the British invasion under the command of General Meadows and Brigadier General Prescott on 13 December 1778 with five thousand men. It was also the scene of an ensuing engagement between Admiral Sir Samuel Barrington and Count d’Estaing. The latter had arrived too late from North America to deflect the British.
Gros Islet (Rodney Bay), in the northeast, was regarded by Rodney as the finest bay in the Caribbean. It was the place where the French landed their forces in 1778. Rodney sailed from the bay to his victory over de Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes.
Marigot Bay is one of the most beautiful coves in the Caribbean. In 1778 Admiral Samuel Barrington sailed into the harbor and camouflaged his ships by tying large palm fronds to the mast to escape the pursuit of Admiral d’Estaing.
Morne Fortuné (Good Luck Hill), 850 feet above sea level, was the site of fortifications overlooking Castries. The ruins of a guardroom, three cells, and stables are located near the entrance to Radio St. Lucia Studios, and date from the late 1770s. Some of the rings for tethering horses can still be seen in the walls. The Halfmoon Battery was built in 1752 and renamed in about 1797. It was at one time a gun emplacement for three 18-pounders and two 24-pounders. A short-oven, built about 1780, was moved from another location in the recent past. The Prevost’s Redoubt is among the best-preserved gun emplacements, and was built in 1782. The military cemetery has graves of French and British soldiers dating from 1782. The site has excellent views of the Pitons, the interior of the island, and Martinique.
Moule à Chique, a mountain peak on the southern peninsula, has a view of the neighboring island of St. Vincent, located 20 miles away.
Paix Bouche, in the northeast of the island, was associated with Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, future wife of Napoleon and empress of France. The family lived on the island from 1763 until 1771. The ruins of the estate are still visible.
Pigeon Island National Park, overlooking Gros Islet Bay, has two hills north of Castries which were fortified by the British in 1778. The fortifications were strengthened under the personal supervision of Rodney between 1780 and 1782. Fort Rodney was on the lower hill (221 feet). There remains a two-gun battery, guns slides, barracks, garrisons and a powder magazine, hospital, cooperage, kitchen, bakery, officers’ quarters, and a signal station, built between 1778 and 1780. The signal station was of great importance for relaying information regarding the movements of the French ships around Fort-de-France (Fort Royal), Martinique. The highest hill (334 feet) is called the Vigie (Lookout). It was the scene of intense fighting when d’Estaing attempted to recapture the island in 1778. With five thousand men, jointly commanded by Lowendahl and de Bouillé, he attempted to storm the lines of General Meadows. He lost some seventy men in the first attack when the British used their bayonets to resist. Two further attempts were repulsed by the British. There is a former military cemetery which dates from 1781. Pigeon Island is now joined to the mainland by a causeway and is a national park with a museum and restaurant. The museum is located in the old officers’ quarters and run by the St. Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society.
The Pitons, or peaks, were for generations landmarks for mariners. Gros Piton is 2,619 feet and Petit Piton is 2,481 feet.
Plantation Houses. Most of St. Lucia’s plantation homes were destroyed in the French Revolution. There are the remains of six estates in the area of Soufrière: Malmaison, which was the home of the future empress Joséphine, thewifeof Napoleon; Diamond, whichhas a pre-1745 windmill; Anse Mamin; Palmiste; and Rabot and Union Vale. In the area of Micoud, there are the plantations of Beauchamps, Fond, and Trouassee. To the south of Vieux Fort, there is Giraudy House and Savannes. Near Dauphin is the Morne Paix Bouche estate and Marquis, which was the home of the governors of St. Lucia. The Mamicou estate on the midwestern coast was the home of the chevalier de Micoud, who defended the island against the British in 1778. Around the southwest coast, there is Choiseul, Laborie, and River Doree. Between Castries and Gros Islet Bay are Cap House and Grand Rivière.
Rat Island in Choc Bay was fortified by the British during the American Revolution.
Vieux Fort, situated on the south coast of a peninsula called Moule-a-Chique, was the first part of the island to be settled by Europeans. It was the district where the British first introduced sugar in 1765, and it became the center of the sugar estates in the eighteenth century. It is now an industrial area, near the main airport, which has a museum about the history and culture of St. Lucia.
For further information contact: National Archives, P.O. Box 3060, Clarke Street, Vigie, Castries, St. Lucia; phone: (758) 452-1654; email: [email protected]; website: http://www.geocities.com/sluarchives/index.html; St. Lucia National Trust, P.O. Box 525, Castries, St. Lucia; phone: (758) 452-5005; fax: (758) 453-2791; St. Lucia Tourist Board; phone: (800) 456-3984; website: www.stlucia.org.
The 36-square-mile island was divided between France and the Netherlands after 1648. It was named after Sieur St. Martin, who claimed the island for Louis XIII. The two colonial powers continued to contest the island and to drive one another out. On 5 January 1779 a British expedition from Anguilla took the French northern half of the island, which had a good harbor and the potential for sugar crops. In March 1780 it was recaptured by the French. Rodney did much damage to the Dutch half of the island following his capture of St. Eustatius in 1781.
Marigot is the capital and a port in the French half of the island (St. Martin), where the main fortress was Point Blanche, St. Louis (Fort St. Louis), built on the edges of the town in 1760. It is in ruins, with several cannons and decaying walls and ramparts.
Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch half of the island (St. Maarten), where the main fortress was Fort Amsterdam, founded in 1631 and substantially rebuilt and modified in 1633 and 1648; it was used as a signal station until the 1950s. It is now in ruins. The town contains seventeenth- and eighteenth-century remains of a synagogue.
For further information contact: Dutch St. Maarten Tourist Office, 675 Third Ave, Suite 1806, New York, N.Y. 10017; phone: (800) 786-2278; fax: (212) 953-2145; Cultural Centre of Philipsburg, Back Street, Philipsburg, St. Maarten; phone: 5995 22056; French St. Martin Tourism; phone: (877) 956-1234; website: www.st-martin.org; Office du Tourisme, Route de Sandy Ground, 97150 Marigot, St. Martin; phone: 590 875721; fax: 590 875643; email: [email protected]; St. Martin Tourist Office, 675 Third Avenue, Suite 1807, New York, N.Y. 10017; phone: (212) 475-8970 / (877) 956-1234; email: [email protected]
The 30-square-mile island was a Danish colony in the Virgin Islands between 1672 and 1917. The inhabitants colonized St. Croix and St. John, which were sold by Denmark to the United States to become the American Virgin Islands. After Rodney’s capture of St. Eustatius in January 1781, St. Thomas became a major source of supplies to the Americans.
Charlotte Amalie, the capital and a port town, suffered six fires between 1804 and 1832. The fortifications are the most impressive structures remaining. Fort Christian, although much altered since its erection in the 1670s, retains parts of the original structure and early-eighteenth-century additions. It houses the Virgin Islands Museum. The facing hills also needed to be fortified because they could be used by an invading enemy to attack the fort. There are two round towers, known as Bluebeard’s Castle (Frederik’s Fort) on Smithberg, a hill east of the harbor, which was completed in 1689, and Blackbeard’s Castle (Trygborg), built in the early 1680s by the Danish West India Company. Prince Frederik’s Battery was built to protect the west side of the harbor entrance in 1780. The Virgin Islands legislature meets in the former eighteenth-century military barracks south of Fort Christian. The military ward of a hospital dating from the last quarter of the eighteenth century is now a private residence called the Adams House. Crown House dates from 1750. It has eighteenth-century furnishings and interiors. The Frederick Lutheran Church claims to be the second-oldest Lutheran Church in the Americas, and has a parsonage that dates from about 1776. The town was a refuge for large numbers of Jews escaping St. Eustatius following the attack by Rodney in 1782.
New Herrnhut Moravian Church was the original church established in the Caribbean by the Moravians, who began their mission at St. Thomas in 1732 and purchased the plantation on which the church is located in 1738. The Moravians originated among the followers of John Hus, the Bohemian priest who was burnt for heresy in 1415. In the eighteenth century Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf of Saxony first granted Moravians asylum and then played a key role in revitalizing the denomination. They were notable for their preaching among the slave population. They became active throughout the Caribbean, including in Jamaica (1754), Antigua (1756), Barbados (1765), and St. Kitts (1774), and in North America, where they were particularly active in North Carolina and Pennsylvania before the American Revolution. Count von Zinzendorf visited St. Thomas in support of the Moravians’ earliest mission to the Caribbean. Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, preached his first sermons under the ceiba at the Moravian Mission at Nisky near Crown Bay. The seminary and school next to the ruins of the church were built in 1777.
Sail Rock was supposedly mistaken by a French frigate for a British ship during the American Revolution. The French ship fired a broadside at the rock, whose ricochet gave the impression of return fire. The cannonade continued throughout the night.
For further information contact: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, P.O. Box 6400, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00804; phone: (340) 774-8784; fax: (340) 774-4390.
St. Vincent was a British colony following its conquest by General Robert Monckton in 1762; it became independent in 1969. The 239-square-mile island was inhabited principally by Caribs, who were descendants of the original peoples of the Caribbean at the time of Columbus. They mostly intermarried with runaway slaves and are therefore often called the Black Caribs. They resisted British expansion and fought a war with British troops in 1772 to 1773 which necessitated the removal of troops from Boston and was widely condemned among the opposition parties in Britain. The war did not result in a clear victory, which some Patriot newspapers in North America interpreted as evidence of the weakness of Britain. During the American Revolution the Black Caribs remained a constant source of anxiety to the British, and were believed to be in league with the French. On 16 June 1779 the island was captured by Admiral d’Estaing and 400 men under the command of the chevalier du Romain. Valentine Morris, British governor of the island, managed to assemble in opposition only 44 regulars and 35 militia. The island was returned to the British by the terms of the peace of 1783. James Hamilton, the indebted father of Alexander Hamilton who had abandoned his wife and family in St. Croix, died in St. Vincent on 3 June 1799. He had lived for nine years on the island, and previously on the nearby island of Bequia. He and his son exchanged some correspondence, but never met in thirty-five years.
Botanic Gardens. Reputed to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, they occupy 20 acres of land 1 mile outside of Kingstown. The collection includes tropical trees, palms, lilies, hibiscus, and bougainvillea, as well as preserved rare species. It was here that the notorious Captain Bligh planted a Tahitian breadfruit tree in 1797 in hopes that it would prove a useful food source for the Caribbean islands. (His first attempt to collect breadfruit trees from Tahiti in 1787 was thwarted by the mutiny aboard his ship, the Bounty.) The gardens contain the Archaeological Museum (for which visitors should check opening times in advance).
Dorsetshire Hill used to have barracks and was the scene of intense fighting between the British, French, and Caribs. The fortifications, which only consisted of earthworks, no longer exist.
Kingstown is the capital. It was protected by batteries, with Can Garden Point to the south and to the northwest by Fort Charlotte (the current building dates from 1796–1806), named after George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte. The former soldiers’ quarters are now a museum. St. George’s Anglican Church graveyard contains the tomb of Governor William Leyborne, who died in office in 1775, and men from the Seventieth Regiment stationed at Fort Charlotte.
Young Island, off Calliaqua Bay in the south of the island, has the adjacent Fort Duvernette, or Fort Rock, at 260 feet above sea level. It dates from 1800 but has guns from the reign of George II. It protected the entrance to Kingstown.
For further information contact: St. Vincent and the Grenadines Archives Department, Cotton Ginnery Compound, Frenches, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; phone: (784) 456-1689; email: [email protected]: Director of Libraries, Kingstown, St. Vincent, phone: (784) 457-2292; Kingstown Public Library, Lower Middle Street, Kingstown, St. Vincent; phone: (784) 457-2022; the National Trust (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), c/o CARIPEDA, P.O. Box 1132, Arnos Vale, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Registrar General, Government Buildings, Kingstown, St. Vincent; phone: (784) 457-1424; Yulu Griffith, Chief Archivist, Archives Department, Cotton Ginnery Compound, Frenches, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies.
The Saintes are group of eight islands located 7 miles to the south of Guadeloupe, which were the scene of Sir George Rodney’s victory against the French on 12 April 1782. For further contact information see guadeloupe.
Tobago was a British colony between 1762 and 1962. The 116-square-mile island was part of the government of Grenada during the American Revolution. Patrick Ferguson, the British commander killed at King’s Mountain (1780) who invented the first repeating rifle used in the British army (1776), had joined the Seventieth Regiment in 1768 in Tobago, where he was involved in the suppression of slave revolts in 1770 to 1771. John Paul Jones, the Scottish-born American naval hero, was master of the Betsy when he fled Tobago for America after killing a sailor in 1773. During the Revolutionary War, Tobago was twice raided by the crews of American privateers, first after a landing at Bloody Spike on 30 December 1777 and second (in an attack by fifty men) on 17 January 1779. Before leaving the Caribbean for his decisive intervention in the British defeat at Yorktown, Admiral de Grasse captured the island in 1781. It was the only British colony in the Caribbean to be ceded to France in the Peace of Paris in 1783. It returned to British rule in 1793.
Caldedonia, “the Retreat,” is the country house where Lieutenant Governor George Ferguson surrendered to the French in 1781. It was formerly the property of a soldier, James Clark, whose grave is at Fort Granby guarding Georgetown.
Concordia, on the north side of the island, is a plateau with a good view of Scarborough. Lieutenant Governor Ferguson made his last stand against the French at this point in 1781.
Crown Point is in the low-lying region of Tobago. Fort Milford, close to the shore, was built by the British between 1771 and 1781. It has one French and five British cannon, and fine seaward views.
Mount St. George was originally known by the British as George Town. Studley Park House was formerly the courthouse, built around 1788. Fort Granby at Granby Point was erected by the Sixty-second Regiment in 1765 to guard Barbados Bay—the harbor of Mount St. George. The ruins of the barracks and two tombstones are still visible.
Plymouth, also called Soldier’s Barrack, was the major port of entry to Tobago and regarded as a safe harbor. It is the site of Fort James, built by the British in 1768 to 1777, which overlooks Great Courland Bay and today is maintained by the Tobago House of Assembly Tourism Division. The barracks and four mounted cannon are all that remain. Nearby is the mysterious tombstone of Betty Stiven (Stevens), dated 25 November 1783 with the inscription, “She was a mother without knowing it, and a Wife without letting her Husband know it, except by her kind indulgences to him.” The town was the site where the French captured the island from the British in 1781.
Scarborough is the capital and principal town in Tobago. Its Fort King George was built between 1770 and 1786. There are still pieces of cannon, a powder magazine, a bell, and a fresh-water tank. It guarded the harbor and today offers a panoramic view. The Tobago Museum is in the Barrack Guard House.
For further information contact: Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Office, Keating Communications, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6316, New York, N.Y. 10118; phone: (800) 748-4224 / (868) 623-6022; fax: (212) 760-6402; website: www.tidco.co.tt; National Archives, 105 St. Vincent Street, P.O. Box 763, Port of Spain, Trinidad; phone: (868) 625-2689; Tobago Heritage Committee, Tobago, West Indies; Head Librarian, National Heritage Library, 8 Knox Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies; phone: (868) 623-6124; email: [email protected]; website: http://www.nalis.gov.tt/Heritage.html; University Libraries, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; phone: (868) 662-2002; fax: (868) 662-9238; email: [email protected]
VIRGIN ISLANDS (U.S.)
VIRGIN ISLANDS (U.S.). See ST. CROIX, ST. JOHN, and ST. THOMAS.