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First Reading

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Jamaica became a source of wealth for the English under Cromwell, with its acquisition by Sir Wm. Pen and his side kick as compensation for losing the Isle of Hispaniola:

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

oudles of information [123,000] google History Jamaica 1600..1700
pick for taste:

a] An English fleet under SIR WILLIAM PENN, dispatched by Oliver Cromwell to take Hispaniola, found it too well defended and took Jamaica instead, in 1655. Spain recognized the situation in the TREATY OF MADRID in 1670.
[Well defended? nice cop out]

1494-1692 COLUMBUS TO THE DESTRUCTION OF PORT ROYAL. The recorded history of
Jamaica may be roughly divided into six periods: ...
c] History of Jamaica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is borne out by the much more detailed history of Spanish Jamaica by Francisco Morales Padrón. In May 1655, British forces in the form of a joint ...

Pedro  •  Link

[Well defended? nice cop out]

Summary from Pope’s biography of Morgan…

Cromwell had put the expedition under command of 5 commissioners, Penn, Venebles and 3 others. The instructions were deliberately vague, not to tie them to a particular method. The fleet that sailed was unworthy of Cromwell’s New Model Army, badly equipped, badly supplied and badly led at all levels.

The commissioners decided to attack Santo Domingo, the capital of Hispaniola and the first city established by the Spanish in the New World. Admiral Penn decided to copy the tactics of “El Draco”. Penn and some ships would make a diversion, landing one and a half regiments a few miles to the east of the city, while Venables sailed past with the main force, and would land a few miles to the west, and march back to capturte the place.

Venables watched Penn’s ships heading for shore, but Vice-Admiral Goodson refused to close the coast, the landing place being unsuitable. He finally anchored 30 miles west of Santo Domingo. They marched eastwards towards the city and arrived at the place where they should have landed 3 days later.

Venables arrived at the bank of the river Jaino and found that it was too deep to cross, and a flag was seen on the far bank. A man was ordered to swim over and came back with the news that it was Penn’s force. Unlike Drake he had lost his nerve: having failed to find anywhere to land to the east of the city he had ended up running west and landing at the mouth of the Jaino.

The farce continued for a few days before tragedy rang down the curtian. Venables started the march towards the city but sporadic shooting at the outskirts started a retreat. Venables spent 4 days with his wife on Penn’s ship while 7000 men were onshore without tents with the enemy approaching. Not only Spanish but dysentry, yellow fever and malaria.

Venables made a second attempt on the city, even more disastrous. They all blamed each other, and a council of war gave them oppurtunities to make excuses. They had to find an easy target to avoid disgrace. Hence Jamaica, and although they did not realise it, nor did Cromwell, it was strategically one of the most important islands in the Caribbean.

They “resolved to attempt Jamaica” because the troops were “so cowardly and not to be trusted or confided in, exept raised in their spirits by some smaller successes .” Two thousand men were buried on Hispaniola soil.

Pedro  •  Link

Lord Windsor in Jamaica.

In 1662 Lord Windsor arrived as Governor of Jamaica. He brought with him a Royal Proclamation declaring that all children born of English subjects in Jamaica should be regarded as free citizens of England. Lord Windsor retired from the Government of Jamaica within the year, and Sir Charles Lyttleton became Deputy Governor. There were then 4,205 persons in Jamaica. Santiago de Cuba was captured and looted by Admiral Myngs.


Pedro  •  Link

Jamaica 1662.

The first civilian government of Jamaica, its councilmen and courts of justice all met at Port Royal and in 1662, the first civilian governor, Lord Windsor, arrived on the island. Windsor was accompanied by a familiar figure – that of Christopher Myngs. It seems that upon his arrival back in England, Myngs found the country distracted by the restoration of Charles II and as he had been an early public supporter of the monarch, he was cleared of all charges after a sympathetic hearing in June of 1660. By the end of the year, he was restored to his position in the Royal Navy but because of many upheavals, he did not actually set sail for his return to Jamaica until April 1662, when he conveyed Lord Windsor, the governor aboard the 46-gun Centurion.


Pedro  •  Link

The razing of the fort mentioned by Sam on 13th Feb 63.

Myngs was to lead his men against Santiago de Cuba, which had been the Spaniard’s main base for their planned reconquering of Jamaica and was much loathed by the English. Myngs fleet left Port Royal in October 1662 and having rounded Point Negril at the western end of Jamaica, made way for a rendezvous east of their Cuban target, where they met with Sir Thomas Whetstone and seven other privateers. In a conference aboard the Centurion, it was decided that they would take the town in a frontal assault, bursting into the port and taking them by surprise.
However, Myngs had to change his plans as they neared the towering harbour castle that guarded the approaches to the town. They were unable to close in because of faint, erratic breezes. He decided to sail directly for land and by nightfall had put more than 1,000 men ashore. The next morning, they fought their way into the town and took possession of the vessels in the harbour before pursuing the fleeing Spanish inland. Five days of this action “proved not very advantageous, their riches drawn so far off that we could not reach it.” In frustration, the freebooters razed the town and Myngs used 700 barrels of gunpowder to demolish the fortifications and principal buildings. After five days of calculated destruction, Myngs reported that “the harbour castle lies mostly level with the ground.” It would take the Spaniards more than a decade to rebuild the stronghold.


Pedro  •  Link

News of the Restoration in Jamaica.

From Pope’s Biography of Morgan…

“On the 15th August 1660 the Conventine ship of war arrived in the Cagway anchorage from England with the news that would affect the lifes of every man woman and child in Jamaica…

The news that the Conventine brought them was that Charles was now on the throne of England.”

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In February 1667 Pepys is regretful about England's recent actions against the Spanish in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, since it now weakens Charles II's hand with the Spanish treaty negotiations.

I have not delved into this resource, but if you are interested in the transactions with that part of the world, take a look at
America and West Indies: Pages 428-437
Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 5, 1661-1668.
Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1880.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Our Adm. Penn and Gen. Robert Venables took Jamaica in May 1655, but unwisely allowed the Spaniards time to negotiate their terms for surrender. That gave them time to turn their cattle loose and escape with their most valuable possessions to Cuba, leaving their settlements bare of plunder. The Spaniards also released their slaves and left them behind in the mountains to harass the English until troops for the reconquest of Jamaica could be raised. The freed slaves, later known as "Maroons", were quickly organized into a fighting force.

Acting governor Colonel Edward Doyley marched against the former Spanish governor of Jamaica, Don Cristobal de Ysassi with 750 of his best troops and decisively defeated the Spaniards at the battle of Rio Nuevo in June 1658.

De Ysassi fled to Cuba and Doyley was confirmed as the first English governor of Jamaica.

Cromwell urged settlers to go to Jamaica from New England and from other colonies in the Caribbean, but despite the arrival of 1,600 civilian colonists from Nevis in November 1656, the development of Jamaica was slow until the Restoration.

By 1660 the Spanish had given up all attempts to recapture Jamaica, but the Maroons continued to raid English plantations and settlements into the 18th century.

The development of Jamaica continued after the Restoration. The Point was renamed Port Royal, and Fort Cromwell became Fort Charles.

Port Royal grew faster than any other town founded by the English in the New World. It became a notorious center for buccaneering and piracy against the Spanish, even after Spain formally ceded Jamaica to England under the terms of the Treaty of Madrid in 1670.

For more information see http://bcw-project.org/military/a…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Between 1624 and 1632, St. Christopher (St. Kitts), Barbados, Nevis, Monserrat, Providence 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.

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

More slaves from West Africa were brought to Providence Island, off Columbia, than to any other English colony before 1640. Qualms by some of the investors and colonists over the legitimacy of slavery was 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 captured 350 English and 381 slaves.

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 promote Puritan English liberties was simply not perceived or articulated at Westminster.

The Caribbean colonies were intended to be engines of trade, and in terms of the labor market, Barbados was by far the most significant. White labor there was provided by indentured servants. But neither the scale of white immigrant labor, nor the principles upon which it rested, were sufficient to service the new booming sugar industry, which took over from tobacco and cotton cultivation in the West Indies from the 1640s.

Sugar production was highly profitable, supplying an insatiable European market: by the mid-1650s sugar accounted for nearly half the cargoes imported into Bristol, England’s second largest port, and it all came from the Caribbean.

The scale and the processes involved in sugar production (crushing and boiling in continuous, 24-7 shifts, plus back-breaking cultivation, all in searing, humid heat) required cheap, expendable labor (European workers could not withstand the conditions), and West Africans were the answer. Slave labor grew in parallel with the scale of sugar production.

Slaves were regarded as the moveable property (chattels) of their white owners. The practice of chattel slavery in English colonies barely impinged on the consciousness of MPs in Parliament. Curiously the scale of chattel slavery in the Caribbean expanded when the champions of English liberties came into power, and then the scale increased dramatically after the Restoration.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In Barbados there were 6,000 slaves in 1645, but 42,000 in 1698; in Jamaica, 1,500 in 1656 and more than 41,000 at the end of the century.

As the slave trade developed, the code governing ownership of slaves tightened.

In 1655 the addition of Jamaica to English overseas territories, a bigger land mass than the combined size of all the Caribbean colonies mentioned so far in this article, added to the sugar producing capacity of this region of the Americas and introduced a fresh stimulus to the slave trade.

After the introduction of the Slave Codes of 1661, slaves could be designated as real estate, by which they were regarded as unalienable parts of the estates from which they were forbidden to leave.

The distinction between offering the native American/Carib peoples the opportunities presented by European ideas of education and conversion to Christianity, exemplified in the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England (1649) were never extended to those who in the Slave Codes were called ‘heathenish’ and ‘brutish’.

As slavery advanced, there was still no significant discussion in Parliament, where Members were preoccupied with defining the rights and liberties of the English, and not with extending privileges to others.

Highlights and excerpts 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.