by Nick Draper On Wednesday 8th May, I gave a presentation on ‘Slavery and Britain’s Infrastructure’ to staff at the National Infrastructure Commission’s secretariat in Holborn. The NIC was established in 2017 as an executive agency of HM Treasury with a charter to provide advice and make independent recommendations to government on national infrastructure priorities, […]
A couple of years ago I started a blog that I called ‘Caribbean Histories: Resources for learning about the Caribbean past,’ with the aim of sharing some of the amazing digital resources out there dedicated to Caribbean history. I also shared links to digital projects and collections, to exhibitions, academic research projects, books and audio content.
I’ve had a consistent core of visitors to the Caribbean Histories site, but have decided to collapse that blog into this blog. I’ve migrated all posts from the old blog over here and I’ll still share links to new Caribbean content – just look under ‘Caribbean History Resources‘ on the main menu for this site.
As always – please get in touch if you have any comments, want some direction with your research or if there’s something that I shared that helped you out.
The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has just opened an exhibition entitled ‘Le modèle noir De Géricault à Matisse,’ which attempts to restore the identities and perspectives of black figures depicted on canvas but largely written out of history. This article from the Washington Post focuses on one artwork in the exhibition. The painting by Marie-Guillemine Benoist has hung in the Louvre for decades under the title ‘Portrait of a black woman.’ In the new exhibition, the subject of the painting is named – it is entitled ‘Portrait of Madeleine’ because it is a portrait of an emancipated, formerly enslaved woman from Guadeloupe who worked in the home of the artist’s brother-in-law. The exhibition addresses France’s role in the slave trade and the manifestation of the debate over slavery in the arts of the period.
In December 2018, the British Library completed the digitisation of The Barbados Mercury Gazette, funded through the endangered archives project. The digitisation team have previously written about different stages of the project; in this post the team divulge some more about the process of digitising this vital piece of Barbadian history.
The Mercury is a fantastic resource for exploring everyday life in eighteenth and nineteenth century Barbados – each issue is about 4 pages long and is replete with advertisements for consumer goods and real estate; runaway slave advertisements; shipping news; reports of community meetings and social events, and news cut-and-pasted from around the Atlantic world. To access the database, follow this link: Link to the Barbados Mercury online
David Beck Ryden, “Manumission in Late Eighteenth-Century Jamaica,” New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 92:3-4 (2018): 211–244.
I’m very pleased that my most recent research on manumission in late-eighteenth century Jamaica has been published in the New West Indian Guide, the oldest scholarly journal with a focus on the Caribbean.
Manumission (the liberation of individual slaves) took place in many slave societies throughout history for a variety of reasons. In this article, I use over 300 manumission deeds from Jamaica to explore the rationale for freedom grants, demography of the manumitted population, characteristics of the manumitters, and prices paid for freedom, when cash was exchanged. In Jamaica, the proportion of slaves who were manumitted was very small, but one has to keep in mind that the entire population of bondsmen and women was very large on the island. Nonetheless, manumission occurred on a regular basis and had…
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