The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 50.388565, -4.146605

3 Annotations

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My Devonshire paper has an Opinion piece today on statues, history, slavery, and how many Devonians are ignorant of the fact that only a handful of ships from Plymouth initiated the first English slaving expeditions from Africa to the Americas.

It asks if people know that after the 1560s Devonians hardly engaged in slavery? Two dozen ships left Devon to enslave Africans out of the nearly 12,000 voyages conducted from other English ports.

Also in the 1500's some Africans lived in Plymouth and Barnstaple, probably because of privateering. Documents show these men and women were free servants, not slaves. [That didn't last - sj]

Upsetting to some is the fact that more white Devonians were taken hostage and enslaved in North Africa than Equatorial Africans were seized as slaves by Devonians. (That isn't true for many English counties; the Barbary pirates’ made a significant impact on Devon for centuries.)

On-going research will probably show substantial Devonian trade from the late 1500s to the early 1800s was in slave-produced goods (sugar, rum, tobacco, cotton). There was also direct investment in, or ownership of, slave plantations – but as of 2020 there is no evidence any Devon estate or country house was purchased with, or built from, such wealth.

It is impossible to disentangle the British Empire from any economic or cultural legacy in the United Kingdom. For centuries the economy was centered on adding to its colonies, and the exploitation of foreign commodities.

In 17th century Devon this meant the harvesting of Canadian fish and whales which made Dartmouth, Plymouth, Teignmouth, Bideford and Barnstaple wealthy at the expense of native Canadians. This fishing provided the economic foundation for those ports. Should we now view the quaint 17th century streets of Dartmouth with shame?

The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Dartmouth and Plymouth will be celebrated in the United States in 2020 as a valiant fight for religious freedom. But the Pilgrims sought (1) freedom to practice their own Puritan form of worship, and (2) freedom to persecute anyone who dissented from it. They carried out their plans: Quakers were hanged for practicing their faith.

Today we would label the Pilgrims as extremists, bigots and/or fundamentalists -- certainly not humanitarians.
In addition, the Puritans’ New World was the result of taking land from its rightful owners.

As we know from studying Pepys, it is impossible for any figure from the past to meet modern expectations with respect for gender, race, disability, religion, sexuality, class, household violence and age.

Pictures of Raleigh and Dartmouth, and more Devonshire musings on uncomfortable subjects at…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

According to this article, the Commonwealth (before Pepys' time) made a significant investment in the development of Plymouth as a Naval victualling and trading base:

"Archaeologists are beginning a major investigation that could reveal early evidence of Plymouth’s status as an epicenter of global trade.
"Experts from the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Archaeology Society will be carrying out excavations on part of the earliest victualling yard for the Royal Navy in Plymouth, sited at Commercial Wharf to the south of the Barbican.
"The area was used for nearly 200 years to supply the Navy with bread, biscuits and beef until those operations moved to Royal William Yard in the 19th century.

"Conservation work on the quay wall at Commercial Wharf has revealed important 17th century material. This has included pottery and clay pipes dating to the second half of the 17th century from Italy, Iberia, France, Holland and the Rhineland, as well as English pottery from North Devon and Somerset.
Archaeologists have also found tableware, jars, a candlestick and a strange unglazed shard that was probably part of a Spanish wine amphora or olive oil jar, never before seen in Plymouth.
"They hope to uncover more such items with the possibility of finding earlier items from around the time of the Mayflower’s departure from Plymouth.

'University of Plymouth maritime archaeologist Martin Read said: “Plymouth has always had a much higher proportion of imported pottery from southern Europe and the Mediterranean than elsewhere. It was probably brought back by fishermen after selling their salted cod, with something like 40% of the ceramics recovered in Plymouth from this time having been imported. This is an exciting opportunity to examine part of an early victualling yard. There are very few of these sites that have not been later redeveloped and built over, so the area is of international importance.”'

For photos of the pottery and more info., but sadly none of the 17th century buildings, see "…

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