Abstract

Although recent scholarship on the Haitian Revolution has emphasized the centrality of African actors in fomenting change in the Atlantic world, the roles that indigenous peoples played during the Age of Revolutions have largely been ignored. This essay counteracts this neglect by examining the history of the Caribs of St. Vincent, whose participation in the Second Carib War (1795-96) posed a serious threat to British rule in the Caribbean. The Caribs of St. Vincent are more commonly known as the Black Caribs, a moniker used by British chroniclers to downplay the Caribs' aboriginal status and territorial claims to St. Vincent. Yet Amerindians had first inhabited St. Vincent during the precolonial era and hence well before Britain claimed possession of the island in 1763. Furthermore, they turned the island into a "Carib Republic," or refuge from imperial control, by incorporating runaway Africans, many of whom came from nearby British colonies, into their numbers. They also formed alliances with the governments of neighboring French colonies, which aided them during the Second Carib War. Although the British ultimately won the war, it nevertheless represents a unique attempt by a multiracial, Amerindian-led force to take advantage of revolutionary turmoil and maintain their territorial autonomy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0895
Print ISSN
1543-4273
Pages
pp. 117-132
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-29
Open Access
No
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