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St. Vincent

St. Vincent, chief island of the Grenadine chain is located 100 mi (161 km) west of Barbados. The island is mountainous and well forested. St. Vincent is dominated by the volcano Mount Soufri re, which rises to 4,048 ft (1,234 m) and which has erupted in recent history.

The Grenadines, a chain of nearly 600 islets with a total area of only 17 sq mi (27 sq km), extend for 60 mi (96 km) between St. Vincent and Grenada. As were many of the islands of the Caribbeean, it was explored by Columbus in 1498, and alternately claimed by Britain and France.

In 1627 Charles I of England granted the island to Lord Carlisle, but no settlers arrived.

Charles II granted it to Lord Willoughby in 1672; possession was disputed by the British, French and Spanish.

All these claims were resisted by the Caribs. The Caribs did not, however, oppose the settlement of a shipload of enslaved Africans who escaped after a shipwreck in 1673, and in due course seem to have merged with the Carib community through intermarriage.

St. Vincent became a British colony by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1773, the island was divided between the Caribs and the British, but conflicts between the groups persisted. In 1776, the Caribs revolted and were subdued. Thereafter the British deported most of them to islands in the Gulf of Honduras. Sugarcane cultivation brought thousands of African slaves and, later, Portuguese and East Indian laborers.

In the second half of the 19th century sugar slumped and a depression lasted until the end of the century. A series of natural disasters followed: a hurricane and also a further eruption of La Soufriere in 1902 which devastated the northern half of the island and killed 2,000 people.

Caribbean: West Indies and Coasts of the United States and Spanish Possessions.

West Indies Map. Cuba, Florida, Mexico. Colton.

In 1773, under an Anglo/Carib treaty, the Caribs were allowed to continue to live independently in the north of the island. France took the island in 1779, but restored it to Britain in 1783, under the Treaty of Versailles. There was a Carib revolution in 1795-96, with some French help from Martinique; when this had been crushed, the rebels were deported to the island of Roatan in the Bay of Honduras.

In 1812 La Soufriere erupted and devastated much of the island, on which a plantation economy, based on slave labour, produced sugar, cotton, coffee and cocoa.

After the emancipation of slaves by Britain in 1833, indentured labour from the East Indies and from Portugal was brought in to remedy the labour shortage.

January 4, 1910, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, U.S.A.

Caribbean Sea Volcanos

The shores of the Caribbean Sea have been the scene of another big seismic disturbance, which is described as having been of longer continuance and as severe in character as the San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906. Mount Pelee, on the island of Martinique and La Souilflier, on the island of St. Vincent, are again in active eruption.

The Caribbean Sea is probably the crater of a prehistoric volcano, the rim of which survives in the chain of the West Indian islands, the coast of Venezuela and the mountain chain consisting the backbone of Central America and the Mexican State of Yucatan. A glance at the form of the sea on the map suggests its origin. A chain of active volcanoes follow this rim. In fact, there is no corresponding area on the face of the globe containing as many active volcanoes as the one linked together in a continuous chain around the Caribbean Sea. All of these volcanoes belong, moreover, to the cinder class which indicates a common genesis and a common cause of activity.

Maritime Maps.

The geology of the whole surroundings of the Caribbean Sea is practically uniform. The underlying stratification is limestone. Superimposed upon it is a mineral oil-bearing stratum. The surviving evidence of the latter in the West Indian island chain is the great asphaltum lake on the island of Trinidad. The combination explains the origin of volcanic activity. Natural agencies have probably set fire to the vents of the petroleum shales, which in time have burned down through the crust of the earth and communicated with the limestone stratum, converting it into quicklime, which after the oil deposits burned out and vents were choked by their own debris, was into activity by the seepage of either rain water or of the water of the ocean, producing thereby the intensest heat and the most powerful expansive force in nature, resulting finally in a volcanic outburst wherever the earth's crust was too weak to resist the pressure. If the Trinidad lake were through any freak of nature or human agency to take fire, we would doubtless witness the birth of a new volcano. In fact, within the past few years a new volcano has been started in Southern Mexico through the accidental ignition of a gushing well in a new oilfield opened there. Every effort made to extinguish it has failed. When the fire reaches the limestone all the volcanic phenomena witnessed in the West Indian islands and throughout Central America will follow.

The debris which has given the cinder volcanoes surrounding the Caribbean Sea is merely the wreckage of the burned-out petroleum shales and the limestone, and until the limestone formation is exhausted the fires of these volcanoes cannot be extinguished.

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

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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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