CARIBBEAN RESEARCH

by Peter Carr


Chronological History of the Caribbean:

1773 - St. Vincent creates a special district for Caribs, but French supported revolt in 1795 defeats them.

1775 - In Puerto Rico, the population consists of 29,263 whites and 7,487 slaves.

1776 - The guns of Fort Oraje salute the brig, Andrew Doria, in recognition of the American flag. During this year, thousands of slaves in Hanover Parish on Jamaica plan a conspiracy. England passes the Navigation Act.

1777 - In September, Dominica is taken over by France.

1779 - Admiral D"Estang takes St. Vincent and Grenada. At a siege of Savannah, GA, French troops are accompanied by sbout 500 free blacks from St. Domingue.

1780 - A great hurricane sweeps through the Caribbean. At Bridgetown, Barbados, over 4,000 lives were lost. On Martinique, more than 9,000 were killed and many ships wrecked. At sea, more than 2,000 Spanish seamen drowned. The British fleet at St. Lucia suffered severe losses.

1781 - British Admiral Rodney sacks St. Eustatius. French and Spanish naval forces take Tobago, Montserrat, St. Kits, Nevis, St. Eustatius and Saba. A severe hurricane hits Jamaica. British forces take St. Martin and St. Bartholomew.

1782 - In the Battle of the Saints on 12 April, Admiral Rodney restores Brithis control by defeating the French Fleet.

1783 - The Dutch regain possession of St. Eustatius and Saba. The British take Montserrat from the French along with Nevis, Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent. The French occupy St. Martin, along with the Dutch, St. Bartholomew and St. Lucia.

1784 - St. Barthelemy is bought by the Swedes from France. In 1878, they sell it back.

1785 - The First Maroon War on Dominica starts and lasts until 1790. Puerto rico suffers through a great hurricane.

Caribbean Island Tidbits:

Tortuga (turtle) Island is off the north coast of Haiti, and it was the lair of the buccaneers in the 17th century. A tiny off the coast of Barthelemy is named La Tortue. Off the coast of Venezuela is another Tortuga Island.

The islands of West Dog, George Dog and Great Dog are located northeast of Tortola Island in the British Virgin Islands. There is a Dog Island nearby to Anguilla.

Pigeon island is located in St. Lucia. In 1782, it was the headquarters of British Admiral Rodney, just prior to the Battle of the Saints.

Cat Island in the Bahamas was named after a 17th Century pirate named Arthur Catt.

There is a Rat Island in St. Lucia.

There are several small islands which lie between Trinidad and Venezuela at the northern end of the Gulf of Paria. These islands are called the Bocas (mouths). They separate the Dragon's Mouth, the channel located there, into several channels.

Hog Island is off the coast of Grenada.

There are two sets of Aves Islands. One is a group of islands located about 100 Miles off the Venezuelan coast while he other is one island locaed 360 miles northeast of Venezuela and 140 miles west of Dominica.

Cuban Tidbit:

The 'Boletin Mercantil' newspaper published in the city of Cardenas, Cuba, during the 1860s, published lists of escaped slaves and indentured servants. These included not only thos of African descent, but also Chinese. Usually given were the last known address or whereabouts, when last seen or captured date.

Genealogical Tidbit:

Anyone with ancestors who may have been blockade runners during the American Civil War with a Caribbean connection should consult the records available in the following places, besides those in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

     Bahamas Archives, Nasaau, Bahamas
     Bermuda Archives, Hamilton, Bermuda
     St. George Historical Society, St. George, Bermuda.

Also, Caribbean newspapers, especially marine data, from that era.

Reprinted with permission from the Caribbean Historical & Genealogical Journal, July 1995


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