Did you know?

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Did you know?


Did you know in 1862-63 John Hawkins was the first English trader who carried enslaved Africans from the Sierra Leone region across the Atlantic to the Caribbean?

He sold his human cargo to the Spaniards in Hispaniola. Then in 1826, African slaves were first introduced to the Windward Islands when Thomas Warner brought 60 Negro slaves to work in the emerging sugar industry of Barbados. From 1650 onwards, Africans were landed in Barbados and the Leeward Islands in increasing numbers. St. Lucia followed some 70 years later.

Did you know St. Lucia’s slave population was never more than just a fraction of the total number of Africans abducted from their homeland? Some researchers disagree, but estimates show that a total of approximately 20 million men, women and children were enslaved, half of whom died in holding camps in Africa or during the Atlantic crossing (the middle passage). It was estimated that between 1451 and 1870 (419 years), a total of 9,566,100 enslaved Africans reached the Caribbean and American coasts alive.

Did you know once sugar was introduced around 1650, slave arrivals spiraled? Between 1650 and 1700, about 1,341,000 Africans were shipped to Jamaica, Ste Domingue and other Caribbean islands. Also from 1701 to 1810 another six million slaves or more survived the extremely grueling Middle Passage. Even after England abolished the slave trade in 1807, two million more Africans were shipped (between 1810 and 1870) to Dutch, French and Spanish colonies in the New World, and especially to Cuba and Brazil.

Did you know from Senegambia in the West to Angola in the south-west and the Swahili-speaking coast in the east: West Africa, Central-Western Africa and even parts of East Africa were the hunting grounds for slave traders? They captured and exported people from an area which itself (around 1800) contained more than 30 million people. The voracious demand for slaves in the New World coincided with indigenous processes of state formation in Africa, cruelly tying African elites and European traders into a gruesome bond of military and commercial activities which made possible the abduction and force replacement of such inconceivable numbers of people.

Source: a History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux – 2012

This feature runs every Tuesday and Thursday. It is compiled by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send ideas and tips to [email protected] 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. "It was estimated that between 1451 and 1870 (419 years), a total of 9,566,100 enslaved Africans reached the Caribbean and American coasts alive."
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    So slaves were brought to the new world even before the new world was discovered by Columbus. Who brought them?

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  2. SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS AGO OUR PEOPLE WORKED THE LAND THROUGH SLAVERY FOR FREE. , NOW IT IS OUR TIME TO WORK THE LAND WHERE IT WILL MEAN SOMETHING TO US AND OUR GENERATIONS TO COME. LAZY ST. LUCIANS GET OFF YOUR BUTTS , WORK THE LAND AND LET US ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ST, LUCIA... ST, LUCIAN GOVERNMENT I CHALLENGE YOU TO START THIS PROCESS.

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  3. I just recently got a copy the book and will take a lot of time to read the history of St Lucia as I want to learn as much as I can about St Lucia.  
    I always find this section 'Did You Know' very educational.

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  4. Slavery, discrimination and genocide has been the theme of the human race since early in recorded history. All races did it to each other and whomever they saw as different. Every conquering nation is known to have oppressed and enslaved the losers. It's not a white on black thing. I see St. Lucians discriminate against Chinese people regularly calling them all sorts of names and stereotyping. If our ancestors had a chance to enslave people in the pass they would and probably did. So just because times have changed doesn't make it out of the norm that negro people were enslaved. Read a history book and stop playing victim.

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  5. I've just purchased the book some of this article was lifted from. As an Englishman, it is shameful to see the horrific conditions that were inflicted upon them by the Brit and French planters. Worth reading the accounts of Jeremie, one of the first Englishman to speak of the conditions and to try and alleviate them. That's why you have Jeremie Street now.

    I would encourage all lucians to buy it and learn some history.

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    • Wam,
      You are absolutely right! I believe this is the best book that I have read in the last 10 years...and I do a lot of reading. I made the connection how the streets got their names. Our Martinique and St. Vincent connections. I also learned about where the old plantations were located on the island, and some of the local families that came from them. Lots of information about the capital, Soufriere.

      Oh! also the late slaves from Guinea and their social acceptance. There is so much stuff in the book try to read it. An History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux

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