Home ° 2017


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

Saint Kitts

Both St. Kitts and Nevis are volcanic islands, a fact to which they owe their dramatic central mountains, their rather unpredictable geologic history, and their lush tropical vegetation.

West Indies.

Carib Indians occupied the islands for hundreds of years before the British began settlement in 1623. St. Kitts' pre-Columbian Carib inhabitants knew their island semilegal, or "fertile land," a reference to the island's rich and productive volcanic soil.

The English and French held St. Kitts jointly from 1628 to 1713. During the 17th century, intermittent warfare between French and English settlers ravaged the island's economy. Meanwhile Nevis, settled by English settlers in 1628, grew prosperous under English rule.

St. Kitts was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

The French seized both St. Kitts and Nevis in 1782.

Battle of the Saints.
Thomas Whitcombe.

Battle of the Saints. Thomas Whitcombe.

Comte De Grasse's action at Frigate Bay
Battle of St. Kitts. January 26, 1782 during the American Revolutionary War.
against Sir Samuel Hood

England and France had shared St. Christophe / St. Christopher (now St. Kitts) from 1625 to 1713, both establishing their first Caribbean settlements on this friendly and fertile island. The success of these ventures provided a model and a springboard for English and French imperialism in the Caribbean.

The critical position occupied by St. Kitts and Nevis in the European struggle for the West Indies resulted in decisive episodes in Caribbean history. Due to their strategic location and exceptional wealth from sugar colonies, the struggles and conflicts that marked their history are among the most decisive episodes in Caribbean history.

St. Christopher returned to Britain following the Treaty of Paris. For the next fifteen years or so, a program of reconstruction and expansion of the Fortress was embarked upon. No effort was spared in creating an impressive and impregnable military complex, never again to be captured by the enemy. Brimstone Hill Fortress became "a veritable hilltop town" and came to be known as the "Gibraltar of the West Indies".

April 27, 1782, Gentlemans Magazine and Historical Chronicle, London, United Kingdom

THE Stag, Capt. James Leak, with 70 transports with provisions from Core, arrived at Antigua. He was bound to Saint Kitts, and was within two hours sail of that island when he received intelligence that the island was in the enemy's hands.

The Treaty of Paris in 1783 definitively awarded both islands to Britain. They were part of the colony of the Leeward Islands from 1871-1956.

January 9, 1786, The Daily Universal Register, London, Middlesex, United Kingdom

(See our Paper of Friday and Saturday last.)

The Court, on consideration, gave judgment as follows:

Lord Mansfield: The only question seems to be, whether this is the same voyage the insurance is effected? The defendant has certainly done wrong, as there was no colour for cancelling it. As to the one-fourth part he does not clearly appear to have accepted it, and he enters the premium for the whole. The great question then is as to the voyage, and this was left to the consideration of the Jury. A storm drives the ship into St. Eustatia, in the direct road from St. Kitts to London, and from thence pursues her voyage; she had no occasion to go back to the port from whence she came. The witnesses swear, however, that she tried to go back, but was prevented by stress of weather. It is not stated that she could have sailed from St. Eustatia during the time she was taking in her cargo: I am therefore of opinion against the rule.

Mr. Justice Willis: My only doubt is, whether this is the voyage insured, or whether it is not a perfectly new voyage, new cargo, and new risk? The ship is sold to Rofs, and there is a total reloading of the ship by him, the new owner, except about 20 hogsheads of sugar, which were loaded on board her at St. Kitts. The Jury did not perhaps consider it sufficiently, and the defendant does not appear to have been prepared to combat the evidence at the trial. I think it a matter of great difficulty, and well worth the consideration of another Jury the voyage, cargo, and risk having been altered.

Mr. Justice Ashhurst: Wherever a ship is driven from its original destination by necessity, and not from any intention of trading, it shall not be considered as altering the voyage. Here she could not get back to St. Kitts, and it was more for the benefit of the underwriters that she should stay and load at St. Eustatia, the risk being by this means considerably lessened. I do not consider this as the plaintiff's suit, but as that of Rofs the assignee. The policy could certainly be transferred; and this action, brought by the plaintiff as trustee for Rofs: it appeared plainly there was no agreement with him for the transfer of the policy.

Mr. Justice Buller: The change of property was a point very much relied on, but which, in my opinion, makes no difference. I will therefore see how the case would have been if the ship had never been sold, and that will bring it to the question, whether this was a different voyage or not? It is not true that the ship came the same voyage by accident.

The intention always was, that she should come from St. Kitts to London, part of the St. Kitts cargo was brought. There never was a period in which the panics had in contemplation a different voyage, which they took a great or small part of the cargo, is in favour of the plaintiffs under the circumstances of the cafe. If the ship had had its full cargo, it would have been a mere voluntary act to call at St. Eustatia, and which is shown nevertheless to be the custom. It is much more favourable for the plaintiffs that the ship was compelled to stay there by stress of weather.

The St. Kitts cargo remained on board; they were prevented from loading her as they intended, by storms: nothing arose on a sudden at the trial but what the defendant might and ought to have been prepared to combat. They did not go to St. Eustatius for the cargo. The ship attempted to get back to St. Kitts, but could it? The risk would have greater to the insurer if they had. It was proved that St. Eustatia is in the direct road. The risk is by this means lessened: all the other policies have been paid ; and the sugar loaded at St. Kitts has been paid for by the defendant, and why should he pay for that if he thought the voyage altered? as to the one-fourth part said to belong to the defendant, there is no question whatever: the policy is now to be considered as for the benefit of Rofs, he must cover the whole money; but had it stood as between the plaintiff and the defendant might have recovered his one-fourth from the plaintiff; But it does not appear on this case with sufficient certainty that the defendant had accepted one-fourth. As to the actual cancelling of the policy, what is the argument? That if the defendant had been somewhere else than he was, and had had the power of acting otherwise than he had; he would have done differently. But it is necessary that something must be done by the underwriter before the news of the loss arrives, which was not the case; hereafter the loss was known he could have no election.

The rule for a new trial discharged.

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.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

Kindly Kindly Donate.


DALevy @


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.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.