In October 1756 the ship Europa left Jamaica for Dublin. Being a time of war, the Europa was briefly taken by the French, before being retaken by the British. As a war ‘prize’ it was taken under the control of the High Court of Admiralty, and its post bag of letters to ports in Britain (London, Liverpool, Bristol and Dublin) kept as evidence. They remain, as a set, at The National Archives, London. Written during September and October 1756 by merchants, plantation managers, and sojourners, these letters discuss plantation business, gossip about social life in Jamaica, and list the sales of enslaved men, women and children. These letters will be used to shine a micro-history lens on Jamaican life at an important juncture in its history, reflected against the macro view of the historiography of Atlantic slavery.
The overall aim of this project is to use this rare set of letters to provide a personal, or micro-perspective of Jamaican life in the mid eighteenth century set against the backdrop of the macro of Atlantic enslavement at this important period in Jamaica’s history. Through the final outcome of a monograph these letters will finally be ‘delivered’ and in so doing, bring the histories to life of those writing the letters (mostly white) and those being written about (black and white).
In order to provide a focus for this research several research questions are pertinent:
Carnevali Small Research Grants Scheme
Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire
University of NottinghamUniversity Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
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