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San Francisco Bay 1800s.

Caribbean Ports: ° Anguilla ° Antigua and Barbuda ° Antilles ° Aruba ° Bahamas ° Barbados ° Cuba ° Dominica ° Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) ° Grenadines ° Guadeloupe ° Haiti ° Jamaica ° Martinique ° Netherlands/Antilles ° Puerto Rico ° Saint Kitts ° St. Lucia ° St. Martin ° St. Thomas ° St. Vincent and the Grenadines ° Tortola ° Trinidad and Tobago ° Turks and Caicos


Aaron Arrowsmith. Carribbean.

Dominica's first inhabitants, the Ortoroids, arrived from South America around 3100 B.C., and lasted on the island until around 400 B.C. Next came the Arawaks, who settled in about 400 A.D. By 1400, the Kalinago or "Caribs," moved aggressively up the Caribbean from South America, eliminating the Arawak from the region, including Dominica. When Columbus ushered in the era of colonization to Dominica in 1493, the same fate that befell the Arawaks would threaten the Caribs.

Ignoring the Kalinago name of "Waitukubuli," Columbus renamed the island Dominica as he first made landfall on a Sunday. The Caribs successfully resisted efforts of Spanish colonization, but the British and French followed from the 1600s on, battling each other, and the Caribs, to claim the Island. Through the many battles and ravaged by disease, the Caribs gradually lost control of the island, fleeing back to South America. However, today approximately 2,000 Caribs remain on the island, most living in the Carib Territory in northeast Dominica. You many note that many of village names in and around Dominica are a mix of Carib, French and English, reflecting the power struggles of the last 500 years.

A Cudgelling Match
Between English and French Negroes
Island of Dominica, 1779

English and French Negroes on the Island of Dominica.

Cudelling Match between English and French Negroes. Dominica. 1779.

Agostino Brunias (c. 1730 April 2, 1796) was a London-based Italian painter from Rome. Strongly associated with West Indian art, he left England at the height of his career to chronicle Dominica and the neighboring islands of the West Indies. He painted in the tradition of verite ethnographique.

He was hired by wealthy British estate owners, mainly to paint people, especially the mulatto, the mixture of European, African and Creole races. His paintings of Dominica, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, and Barbados provide a valuable insight into life on these islands during the colonial period. One of his works, Free Women of Color with their Children and Servants in a Landscape, (c. 1764 96), an oil painting on canvas, depicts colonial women of color as privileged and prosperous, and is now in the Brooklyn Museum. It depicts the influence of a diverse European, Caribbean, and African cultures prevalent in the 18th century Caribbean.

February 27, 1866, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Secretary Seward's Interview with President Baez.

Washington, February 4th. A letter has been received here from San Domingo, giving the substance of a conversation held there on the 14th of January, between Secretary Seward and President Baez at the national Palace. The Cabinet were present. The thorough respectability of the source whence the information comes entitles it to credulity. President Baez said he was very happy to have the the honor of receiving the Secretary of the United States at the national Palace; that a revolution has been made in this Republic, and that, the whole people having acquiesced in it, it lacks nothing in degree of stability to the present Government but that it should receive the recognition of the great Republic of the United States.

Representation of the Sugar-Cane and Sugar ProductionSugarcane.


Mr. Seward said: I see before me a person, Gen. Cabral, who, I may say, has heretofore not improperly but most loyally, been the obstacle to recognition of the Government under your administration. When the power of Spain was cast off by the people of Dominica, they announced to all other nations the restoration of the Republic of Dominica, and Gen. Cabral at its head. Satisfied that the revolution was as successful as it was just, and believing that it was permanently established under the control of Gen. Cabral, the United States did not hesitate a moment in instructing their Consul residing here to recognize the Republic, by putting himself into political relations under Gen. Cabral. Before these instructions could be executed there was a change -- an irregular one, without the forms of constitutional action, and Gen. Cabral was not present, and in his place you, General Baez, were found at the head of the Republic, in antagonism, as it seemed, to the will of the people, as it had before been expressed in favor of Gen. Cabral. We were loyal to Gen. Cabral, though not hostile to you. We sought to know how the Government of the Republic was to be permanently recognized, and under whose administration in the full execution of the national will, which is for all foreign States the supreme law. All our difficulties are now happily dispelled. Gen. Cabral is no longer President by the voice of the people, but you are President in his stead, and the acquiescence of the people is guaranteed by the presence of Cabral, acting in full harmony with you as a member of your Administration.

President Baez said: "I was in France I came to America on my way to my country, and from that, though Spanish rule was cast off, and the republic was proclaimed and successfully established by the people in arms, I was prepared to accept and heard with satisfaction that condition of things. General Surano lead been proclaimed Provisional President. I prepared to acquiesce in his administration. The people considered again, and General Pimental was chosen Provisional President. I was ready to acquiesce in that. While I still remained abroad, the people considered again, and called General Cabral to the Presidency. I was content with that, but then came a declaration of the popular will calling me to the Presidency that call was sustained by General Cabral, and it came in a form so solemn, that I was obliged to regard it as the will of the people. I caused the Congress of the republic to be convened. They have ratified that desire, and I have accepted the administration under the guarantees of organized law, and, with a view of cementing the harmony of the Government, have invited General Pimental and General Cabral to be members of my Cabinet. I am still holding a similar trust for General Surano, which I hope will be accepted by him."

Seward said: "Your policy seems to me to have been eminently judicious. I trust it will prove as successful as it was manifestly wise."

President Baez said: "I hope all parties will acquiesce in a complete return of peace and order; but it would complete our good fortune and give us the only guarantee that remains to consolidate the Government if the great Republic of North America would give us its recognition. When Dominica separated from Hayti in 1824, many other States recognized Dominica, but the United States, for reasons doubtless of their own, have never recognized Dominica. The enjoyment of their favor is essential to our stability and peace, and I have always thought it a hardship that it could not be secured. Now, however, since I learn that the United States have proclaimed general liberty for all classes of men, I hope that the obstacles which have prevented our recognition may be deemed to have been removed."

William Henry Seward
Alonzo Chappel

Seward said: "When the United States separated from Great Britain and established themselves an independent nation, they organized themselves into a republic and laid for its foundation the principle of the equality of all the people, a principle with which any form of human slavery is incompatible; but African slavery existed in the country, and while in theory and form our condition was based upon equality of all the people of the nation, slavery nevertheless existed, with guarantees in local or State laws.

The first great effort of the friends of freedom and humanity was to elevate slavery with its influences in every form, and to give to the nation the character and policy of a nation opposed to human bondage. Every step we advanced in attempting to impress this character upon the nation, we were met by the slave holding portion of the republic by menace of disruption and dismemberment of the empire. It was not possible at first to prevent the the extension of slavery in our own borders. It was not possible to prevent the acquisition of a new foreign territory for the purpose of the extension of slavery, because of the popular apprehension that disunion must follow.

The policy of restriction was thus opposed in fact, under previous Administrations, the slave-holding power loudly and long determined the policy of the country, at home and abroad, thus it happened that, when Hayti established a republic upon the basis of universal emancipation, constituted in all its forms after our own, the United States did not recognize Hayti, and throughout all her existence now not a short one of near fifty years, our sister republic was never recognized by the United States. It was so with Dominica in 1824, when she separated from Haiti, and established an American sister republic. We did not acknowledge Dominica as a State, which has remained out of the relation with the United States till the present time.

Our own people of all classes, with great labor and great cost, many years ago, established a republic on the coast of Africa -- Liberia -- intended to operate successfully for the suppression of the African slave trade. The founders of Liberia were American citizens. Settlers of Liberia were a portion of the American people, but the slave holding policy prevailed in the counsels of the United States, and the United States did not recognize Liberia, though virtually a creation of its own, until 1861 , when the slave-holding policy of the United States was for the first time effectually reversed, not without the necessary cost of suppressing attempted dismemberment so long menaced. Of how great that cost has been I am not now to speak, but it is a source of satisfaction that the reversal of the objectionable policy is complete and radical. Simultaneously with declaring the doom of slavery, the President recommended to Congress the recognition of the republics of Haiti and Liberia, and Congress promptly and with great unanimity expressed its concurrence. The hand which, by the command of the President, wrote those acts, was equally prepared and anxious to recognize the republic of Dominica; but unfortunately just at that moment the republic had gone down in Dominica, and this fair and beautiful land had become, with the apparent consent of its people, a portion of the kingdom of Spain, and we could not deny to the people of Dominica the right to be the subjects of Spain, if such was their choice.

We could not intervene by force to prevent their exercise of that choice or to compel them to reconsider it, nor intervene to establish republican institutions by force. We deny the right of any State to intervene by force to establish a monarchical, imperial or any other form of Government in our country. Foreign intervention by force is always ruinous to a State, no matter under what pretense it is effected or by what agency it is involved. No foreign State can establish or guarantee republican institutions in any other State by force. A State that will permit and endure successful intervention in its political affairs is unworthy, and, therefore, incapable of being free. A brave people need no intervention. To a timid or cowardly nation, foreign intervention, though in a friendly guise, is no blessing."

President Raez said: "That is true, but the people of Dominica have a right that, when they have reestablished their republican system, they shall be acknowledged, and if I could only give to our Congress, when it comes together, the assurance that we would be recognized by the United States, all our troubles would be passed."

Seward. Lincoln's Indispensable Man. Author Walter Stahr.

Seward replied: "Out of the Capital, out of my own country, without the authority of Congress or the President, I can say nothing official; and, therefore, nothing that can guarantee the action of the American republic."

President Daez: "Certainly, I understand that your visit is personal and unofficial."

Seward said: "Yes, it is so. Nevertheless I feel assured that I shall speak in harmony with the sentiments of the entire American people, when I say that the condition of Dominica, as you have explained it to me, is all it seems to require. We have built up in the Northern part of the American continent a Republic. We have laid for it a broad foundation. It has grown upon our hands to be an imposing, possibly a majestic, empire. Its stability and permanence are essential to prosperity, liberty, peace and happiness. Like every other structure of large proportions, it requires outward buttresses; these buttresses will arise in development of civilization in this hemisphere. They will consist of Republics, founded like our own, on adjacent countries and islands, upon the principle of the equal rights of Republics, founded like our own, on adjacent tries and islands, upon the principle of the equal of man. To the United States it matters not of what race or lineage these Republics shall be. They are necessary for our security against oppression of external foes, and, perhaps for the security of our internal peace. We desire these buttresses to be multiplied and strengthened as last as it can be done without the exercise of fraud upon our own part. You are quick to perceive the use of the main edifice in protecting the butresses you have established here, and thus it happens the Republics around us only impart to us the strength, which we, in turn, extend to them. We have, therefore, no choice but to recognize the Republic of Dominica as soon as it shall afford to us the necessary guarantee of its own stability. We have the strength, which we, in turn, extend to them. We have, therefore, no choice but to recognize the Republic of Dominica as soon as it shall afford to us the necessary guarantee of its own stability. We have only been waiting at Washington lor the report of our Consul here, giving us satisfactory evidences of this stability and permanence."

President Baez: "It is desirable for Dominica that the United States should enter into a permanent commercial treaty with us, but it is a question whether we should send a Minister by executive authority or wait until the assembling of our national Congress to give the necessary authority. I should like to know if you are at liberty to give me your opinion on that question."

Mr. Seward: "It is not competent for me to advise in regard to your country. I can only say, that whenever a Minister shall be sent from Dominica to Washington, either by the President acting alone or acting with concurrence of the Congress of Dominica, that Minister, I have every reason to believe, will be received with all the attention and consideration which are customarily awarded by the Government of the United States to representatives of friendly powers. Whatever negotiations he may open will be conducted on our part with reference to the best interests of the United States and the most cordial friendship of Dominica, and nothing will be offered or exacted, on the part of the United States that is not in conformity with the laws and usages of civilized nations."

Since the return of Secretary Seward to Washington, the Government, it is already known, has recognized the independence of Dominica, and the President has nominated to the Senate General Cazenova as Minister to that republic. He is there engaged as a merchant.

March 3, 1870, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


There is an unusual commotion in Hayti. Admiral Porter, it is reported, recently steamed into one of the ports of that volcanic Republic with a formidable array of ironclads, and informed the government that the United States had formed an alliance with President Baez, and that any assistance that might be rendered to the insurgent, Cabral, would be punished. For the proper understanding of the subject it may be necessary to state that the Island of Hayti is divided into two republics.

Faustin Elie Soulougue. Emperor of Haiti. 1852.
General Faustin Soulouque
as Emperor of Haiti

One is the Republic of Hayti, composed mostly of colored people who speak the French language the other is the Republic of Dominica, whose inhabitants are mostly white, and are of Spanish extraction. Hayti was one of the first islands in this hemisphere discovered by Columbus. A Spanish settlement shortly afterwards sprung up. Some Frenchmen, later in the century, emigrated to the island, but they could not get along with the Spaniards. They were driven to the western portion, and so on this island a young France and a young Spain grew up confronting each other. In time both went into the importation of negroes, and prospered amazingly till the voice of Danton was heard in the French convention, thundering out on the subject of the abolition of slavery in the French West Indies, "perish the Colonies, but principle never."

The slaves were all freed, but under Napoleon an effort was made to reduce them to their former condition, which resulted in the defeat of the whites, and the gradual formation of two republics the one Hayti, as above stated, principally black the other Dominica generally white, shaded off a little with half-breeds. The Negro republic has never been a very stable one. Its imitative capacity is great. When the great combustion of formulas took place in France, it set to work to burn up everything, likewise, but with no very clear conception of what it was about. It then settled down for a space under an Emperor, the oleaginous Soulouque, who, with his Dukes of Marmalade, and Counts of Charlotte Russe, for a while astonished the world. Since the expulsion of that monarch it has been doing little but evolving "Liberators," and then when their time is run executing them as "traitors."

The Bay of Samana. Santo Domingo, West Indies.
Purchased by the United States in 1868.

The Bay of Samana, Santo Domingo 
Purchased by the U.S. in 1868 West Indies. Dominican Republic.

The "Savior" of his country of yesterday, received with vivats, and garlands, and brass-bands, is the felon and traitor of today, sent to his last account, with cries of "Long live the Constitution" ringing in his ears. A few years ago it was Geffrard, the deliverer of his country from the usurpation of Soulouqua, who was the idol of the hour. And then came Salnave, who expelled Geffrard, and became a "liberator" in his own person. Lately Baget overthrew Salnave, and afterwards had him executed among the ruins of his own palace. He will be continued at the head of affairs until a now "liberator" arises and makes short work of him. Of all the rulers of Hayti, probably Soulouque and Geffrard are now the best off. The former devotes himself mainly to cock-fighting in the island of Jamaica; while Geffrard frequently figures in stunning regimentals at the Court balls in the Tuileries.

While all these convulsions have been going on, Dominica has been mainly quiet and orderly. An insurgent general occasionally endeavors to secure the supreme power, but Baez became president in 1844 when Dominica had declared its independence of Hayti, and still holds the reins of government. With him we have recently had some dealings. We have leased from him the Bay of Samana, and now it is reported that his people have declared by an overwhelming majority for annexation to the United States. Hence we presume the appearance of Admiral Porter with his ironclads on the scene and his declaration that the United States would not permit Hayti to furnish any assistance to Cabral who is a Dominican insurgent and fighting for the overthrow of Baez. So runs the story, but where Admiral Porter could get the authority to take a step which might lead to a war which might become serious, seeing that the British appear to be partisans of Cabral, is not easily discernible. Probably we shall hear more about the matter in a day or so.

November 23, 1884, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Our Next Acquisition.

The West Indies.

(Buffalo Express.) Dominica, the British West Indian island which is desirous of being ceded to the United States in order to find a market for its sugar and molasses and beeswax, is one of the leeward group of the Lesser Antilles, and comprises an area of 231 square miles. Its population of 30,000, of whom nearly all are emancipated slaves, are dominated by a Roman Catholic priesthood. The Legislative Assembly, which has memorialized the Home Government to declare a decree of cession is composed of fourteen members, of whom half are elected by the people and half appointed by the Crown. The executive is a Lieutenant-Governor assisted by a council of seven. It is an interesting little island, but rather a simple-minded one to expect that the United States would link its fortunes to its own, or that England, which probably monopolizes the island's trade, would be willing to surrender it on a mere request.

October 6, 1894, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

All That Is Needed Is Reform of the Administration.

London, Oct. 5. The report of Sir Robert Hamilton, the Commissioner sent to inquire into the affairs of the island of Dominica, West Indies, says that the population of the island, estimated to be about 30,000 persons, is discontented on account of the poverty existing, and which is said to be due to defective administration. The report also says that the poorer classes are too heavily taxed, and suggests, among a number of economic and administrative reforms, that the island of Dominica be withdrawn from the Leeward Islands Federation and placed under the control of a lieutenant-governor. Sir Robert, in conclusion, says that Dominica has a great future before it if the reforms which he advocates are carried out.

July 14, 1898, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Excitement at Dominica. 
Resolution Adopted to Make It a Crown Colony.

ST. THOMAS (Dutch West Indies), July 13. In the House of Assembly of Dominica, in the Leeward group of the British West Indies, a resolution was introduced in favor of accepting the offer of Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to extend imperial assistance to Dominica on condition of a change In the local legislation by which the island should become a crown colony.

This amendment was opposed by the Anti-Crown Colony party, declaring that the Government was trying to deprive the inhabitants of their just rights and liberties, and proposing that the British Government be asked to barter Dominica to the United States or some other nation. The resolution was adopted. The supporters of the amendment have lodged a protest and popular excitement on the subject is intense.

April 18, 1902, Amador Ledger, California, U.S.A.

How Bay Rum Is Made.

Bay rum is manufactured in Dominica from the dried leaves of Pimenta acris. Bay rum is procured by distillation and this in a very simple. The leaves are picked from the trees and then dried. In this state they are placed in the retort, which is then filled with water, and the process of distillation is carried on. The vapor is then condensed in the usual way and forms what is known as "bay oil," a very small quantity of which is required for each puncheon of rum. The manufacture of bay rum is carried on at the northern end of Dominica and proves a very lucrative business to those engaged in it, as the plants are plentiful to this district.

On November 3rd 1978, the island was finally granted its independence from Britain. The new era of freedom and independence brought increased challenges, and economic and political struggles. By the mid-1980s though, Dominica had settled down as a stable and peaceful country. The success of the banana trade, the island's major export, brought economic buoyancy to the island for a time.

December 30, 1882, Pacific Rural Press, California

Stand to Your Guns.

Smugglers. Ivan Constantinovich AivazovskySmugglers.


Stand to your guns! Close the ranks front and rear,
With jour face to the foe, no repining, no fear;
Raise high our proud banners, now lowered at hall mast,
Where it ruefully hangs, all the mourners have passed.

Stand to your guns! Save the ship, clear the wreck,
The tars of Columbia must muster on deck;
Launch again on the ocean the flag of the free,
The pirates and smugglers to sweep from the sea.

Then cast overboard every sailor who skulks
From his duty or colors, who grumbles, or sulks
With a mutinous snarl or sneer on his lip,
While pirates are plundering and scuttling the ship.

Drum out every soldier who sneaks from the ranks
While the foe Is assailing the front and the flanks;
Comrades who desert while the battle is hot,
By the laws of all nations are doomed to be shot.

Drive out the camp rubbish, who bluster and brag,
The cravens who stand not by gun or by flag;
The Hessians, who battle for rations and pay,
Are sure to surrender, desert, or betray.

In contests for freedom, for country, or creed,
Deserters and trimmers can never succeed;
The soldier in siege, or in field, who has won—
Is he who has loyally stood by his gun.

The past has its glories, the present its hour
To break every fetter that curbs freedom's power,
New duties arise and new triumphs must come
Full freedom for women and freedom from rum.

Then close up the ranks—let the battle begin
There are fields to be fought, there are sieges to win;
There are legions to conquer- warm work to be done—
Then muster each man who will stand to his gun.

C. J. Beattie

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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