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Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. African slaves--whether shipwrecked or escaped from St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in St. Vincent--intermarried with the Caribs and became known as "black Caribs."

Leeward Island Carib Family. 1780. Agostino Brunias.

Leeward Islands Carib Family. c. 1870, Agostino Brunias.

Beginning in 1719, French settlers cultivated coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar on plantations worked by African slaves. In 1763, St. Vincent was ceded to Britain. Restored to French rule in 1779, St. Vincent was regained by the British under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. Conflict between the British and the black Caribs continued until 1796, when General Abercrombie crushed a revolt fomented by the French radical Victor Hugues. More than 5,000 black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras.

Slavery was abolished in 1834; the resulting labor shortages on the plantations attracted Portuguese immigrants in the 1840s and east Indians in the 1860s. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the century.

From 1763 until independence, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British.

September 28, 1844, Colonial Gazette, London, United Kingdom

London to wit,

Robert Wynne, late of the Island of Saint Vincent, and now of Barnes-terrace, in the county of Surrey, Esquire, saith as follows, he being informed that, notwithstanding the authentic declaration on the plans of the Islands of Saint Vincent and Dominica, signed by his Majesty's Commissioners, William Young, William Hewitt, Robt. Wynne, and John Byres the Chief Surveyor, doubts have arisen, and judicial proceedings been rendered thereby difficult, respecting the three chains round the seacoast u appropriated to the use of the contiguous planter," unless wanted to erect forts and batteries upon, in which case his Majesty may erect forts and batteries thereon without paying any compensation for the same; and also respecting the smaller spaces left unnumbered in the plans of the said islands, which are encompassed by lands sold to the contiguous planters; and he, the said Robert Wynne, being requested, as the only surviving Commissioner who was employed by the King in the disposal of the lands, to clear up the true nature and intent of those appropriations, in order to prevent disputes concerning them in future, maketh oath and saith as follows, viz., that the Commissioners being duly authorised by his Majesty's commission and instructions to dispose of his Majesty's lands in the ceded islands, and to make necessary appropriations thereof, did advertise and proceed to the first sale of plantation lots on the Thirtieth day of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-five, in Saint Vincent, the surveyors having been previously directed that three chains (sixty-six yards) be reserved/ or the King*s we from the sea along the coast; that, after the close of that day's sale, the purchasers represented to the Board of Commissioners that they had not adverted to the nature of the reservation of three chains for the King's use, but apprehended it was made for public use, to which they would not have objected, provided they whose land joined were to occupy it till required for public use. That a reservation for King's use would put it in the power of any ill-disposed Governor to give temporary grants for erecting posthouses, dramshops, and other pernicious purposes, to injure the adjoining property of those whose patriotism might lead them to oppose arbitrary and bad measures; arid that they would not abide by the sales, nor would gentlemen of fortune and spirit purchase at future sales, if that Condition was not altered.

Planter and his wife attended by a servant. 1780.

A planter and his wife attended by a servant
c. 1780
Agostino Brunias

Agostino Brunias was born in Rome in 1730 and was hired by the leading 18th century architect Robert Adam to work with him in England, doing decorative murals and drafting designs for the stately homes that Adam was building across Britain. During this period Brunias made the acquaintance of William Young, who in 1764 was appointed President of the Commission for the Sale of Lands in the Ceded Islands, which included St Vincent. In this position Young purchased property on the island including land on the west coast along the borders of what the British chose to declare as Carib territory. Brunias traveled with Young as his personal artist recording the Commissioner's progress and the visual context of his exploits. Yellow Caribs, Black Caribs, enslaved Africans and the free "people of colour" of St Vincent all become subjects of Brunias' brush.

His art was escapist as it was romantic; it distorted the harsh realities of slavery in St Vincent and the Lesser Antilles so as to satisfy his absentee planter clientele, however, its detail reveals aspects of Caribbean heritage that are impossible to glean from the texts of documentary archives.

The Commissioners, having considered the matter, complied with their desire: the condition was altered, public uses substituted in the diagrams in place of King's use, and resolved that the purchaser whose land joined the three chains should have the occupancy of them, unless wanted for forts and batteries. Under this alteration, avowal, and appropriation the sale next day, and all subsequent sales and disposal of plantation lots on-the seacoast of the said Islands of Saint Vincent and Dominica, were made. When the survey of all the coast of the islands aforesaid was made, and the plans completed and examined, the Commissioners further confirmed the appropriation by inserting thereon and signing as follows, viz.:

Caribbean, 1806. Aaron Arrowsmith, Cartographer.

Caribbean, 1806, Aaron Arrowsmith, Cartographer.

We, his Majesty's Commissioners for the sale and disposal of lands in the new ceded islands, do certify, etc.: It is essential to remark that the smaller spaces left (in the plan) unnumbered, and which are encompassed by lands sold to the contiguous planters, are deemed uncultivable, and cannot otherwise be disposed of but to such planters, without materially injuring them, from the particularity of their situation they are therefore considered by us as appropriated to the use of the planter contiguous. The three chains round the coast are also considered by us as appropriated to the use of the contiguous planter, excepting in cases where any particular spot may hereafter be found necessary for erecting forts or batteries; in which case his Majesty may erect such forts or batteries thereon without paying any compensation for the same.

Signed, William Yong, William Hewitt, Robert Wynne. And this deponent saith that the smaller spaces unnumbered in the plans, and the three chains on the seacoast, were appropriated as above by his Majesty's Commissioners to the use of the contiguous planter, excepting in cases where a particular spot may be found necessary for forts and batteries.

Sworn the 20th day of October, in the year 1790, before me,
Recorded and examined this 7th day of June, 1791.

A representative assembly was authorized in 1776, Crown Colony government installed in 1877, a legislative council created in 1925, and adult suffrage granted in 1951.

February 14, 1857, Los Angeles Star, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

From Nicaragua

A gentleman who left for the East via Nicaragua (says the True Californian) thus writes to a friend in this city from Charleston, S. C.:

"I have seen disease and death in all its forms on the plains, in the mountains, and on ship-board, but never before have seen such a state of destitution, disease and death, as existed from the time I landed at San Juan until the cholera left the ship on the Atlantic. I allude mostly to the men of Walker's army, or such as I saw, and that was not a tew, for after the burning of Grenada all the men were removed to the Isthmus except those who were surrounded at Grenada. The poor wretches were almost naked, aud sick as they were were living on beef alone, nothing else being for hem; and in the face of all that two men were shot the day we were at Virgin Bay, for desertion, The officers, as a general thing, were looking well for they would have the best; but the rank and file, the Lord have mercy on them."

December 21, 1895, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Purchase of Railroads

WASHINGTON, D. C, Dec. 20.—Statements have reached Washington that the Nicaraguan Government has concluded with an Englishman named Morgan an arrangement through which he secures control by actual purchase of all the railroad lines in that country. These roads run from Grenada to Managua, the capital, and from Momotumbo to Corinto, the port which figured so conspicuously in the acquiescence of the Nicaraguans to Great Britain's demand for indemnity through its occupation by British warships and land forces.

September 22, 1897, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

A Granada Revolution

NEW YORK, Sept. 21.—A dtapatch to the Herald from Panama says: Nlcaraguan reports state that in an uprising In Grenada an attack was made on the barracks, but owing to a strong resistance and the activity in sending forces to the scene the revolutionists were defeated. The government troops recaptured the town after some hours' struggle and hard fighting. The revolutionists fled toward Costa Rica, but it ls thought they will be captured soon.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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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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