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1893 text

Antigua, one of the West India Islands (Leeward Islands), discovered by Columbus in 1493, who is said to have named it after a church at Seville called Santa Maria la Antigua. It was first settled by a few English families in 1632, and in 1663 another settlement was made under Lord Willoughby, to whom the entire island was granted by Charles II. In 1666 it was invaded by a French force, which laid waste all the settlement. It was reconquered by the English, and formally restored to them by the treaty of Breda.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

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San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Christopher Columbus sighted islands in 1493 during his second voyage, naming the larger one Santa Maria de la Antigua. However, early attempts by Europeans to settle the islands failed due to the Caribs' excellent defenses.

England succeeded in colonizing the islands in 1632, with Thomas Warner as the first governor. Settlers raised tobacco, indigo, ginger, and sugarcane as cash crops.

By the mid-1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat.

Antigua, Montserrat, and St. Kitts were briefly taken by the French in November 1666; Antigua was reoccupied by the English in the early spring of 1667, and all three islands officially restored to them by the Treaty of Breda in July 1667.

Sir Christopher Codrington established the first large sugar estate in Antigua in 1674, and leased Barbuda to raise provisions for his plantations. Barbuda's only town is named after him.

In the 50 years after Codrington established his initial plantation, the sugar industry became so profitable that many farmers replaced other crops with sugar, making it the economic backbone of the islands.

For more information, see…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

This article doesn't agree with Wikipedia on the Carib's "excellent defences". Antigua was on Columbus' 2nd voyage. On his 1st he conquered the Arawaks:

On Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus landed on San Salvador [Bahamas]. He met Arawaks, and wrote, “They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features ...They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves ... They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane ... They would make fine servants ... With 50 men, we could subjugate them and make them do whatever we want.”

Columbus later said, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

Columbus promised Ferdinand and Isabella, “as much gold as they want ... spices and cotton, as much as their Highnesses shall command ... and slaves, as many as they shall order, who will be idolators.”

On his 2nd voyage, Columbus established La Isabella on an island he called Hispaniola [Haiti]. He enslaved thousands of Arawaks, working many to death trying to extract gold from ground that contained little.

Columbus sent 500 slaves back to Spain; 200 died on the voyage. Undeterred, he wrote, “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

Gruesome account of the Caribbean horrors Columbus and his followers practiced came from Fr. Bartolome de las Casas who documented his life in his *History of the Indies.* “Endless testimonies ... prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives ... But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then ... The admiral (Columbus), it is true, was blind ... and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians ...”

On the Arawaks enslaved in mines, “husbands and wives were together only once every 8 or 9 months and when they meet they are so exhausted and depressed on both sides ... they cease to procreate. As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers ... had no milk to nurse them ... while I was in Cuba, 7,000 children died in 3 months.

“Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation ... this land which was so great, so powerful and fertile, was depopulated.”

Columbus did not start slavery, but practiced it violently. The enslavement of peoples by Christians -- Moslems, African Blacks, native Americans -- was explicitly approved in edicts from popes from Nicholas V in 1455 to Alexander VI in 1493.

The violence and the European diseases of influenza, smallpox, and measles annihilated the Caribbean people within 100 years.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Between 1624 and 1632, St. Christopher (St. Kitts), Barbados, Nevis, Monserrat and Antigua were settled by the English. The typical arrangement governing settlement was a grant by the king to a trading company, and the grant defined the parameters of settlement.

Wherever they settled, the English quickly asserted their rights and liberties against the mother country, and saw themselves as English abroad, whatever their motives for emigration.

One English colony, part of the early rapid expansion of settlement in the Caribbean, was unusual, in that its proprietors shared the lofty ideals of the New England Puritan founders.

Founded in 1629, Providence Island (Providencia, between Costa Rica and Jamaica, off what is now Columbia), was the prospective colony promoted by the most determined Puritan opponents of King Charles (Adm. Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, 1587-1619-1658, Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke 1608-1628-1643, William 'Old Subtlety' Fiennes, Viscount Saye and Sele (d. 1662), Oliver St.John, John Pym). It was intended to be a godly commonwealth -- but the settlers needed to trade.

In the Caribbean, the native Carib peoples with whom the settlers came into contact were subject to episodic violence by the English and French.

But in some new colonies, including Providence Island, the Caribs were recognized as a trading people, with whom the English needed to do business. However, they were treated very differently from European trading partners.

Providence Island settlers were forbidden from enslaving the Caribs; instead they became the objects of Christian missionary endeavors.

Yet another ethic applied to Africans. More slaves from West Africa were brought to Providence Island than to any other English colony before 1640. Qualms by some of the investors and colonists over the legitimacy of slavery had been overcome by the perceived need to acquire more labor than emigration from England could provide.

When the Spanish overran Providence Island in 1641, ending English rule there, they took 350 English people captive and 381 slaves.

Back in England, the opening of the Parliament in November 1640 provided the new arena for conflict between King Charles and the Puritan opposition, compared to which the failure of Providence Island was of no consequence, and the jarring discord of Black slavery in a colony founded to safeguard and promote English liberties was simply not perceived or articulated at Westminster.

Excerpted from Slavery, the Caribbean and English Liberties, 1620-1640

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.