Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2001-09 > 0999961985
Subject: [Scotch-Irish] West Indies Scots
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2001 08:15:40 -0700
Hi folks, from David Dobson "Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785" a few details of Scots who get confused with the Scotch Irish:
The most successful and important colony was Barbados. It is a small
island, about the size of the Isle of Wright, but in the late
17th century its exports totaled 308,000 pounds while the mainland
colonies, grouped together, exported 226,000 pounds. It first grew
tobacco but the economy shifted to sugar by 1640. As a result the
African population grew immensely and the excess white population
moved to other colonies, especially the Carolinas with which Barbados
had strong economic ties.
During the English Civil War Barbados supported the Royalist cause.
It submitted to Parliament in 1652. As a result of the Battle of
Worcester, the transportation was ordered of thousands of POWs, largely Scots and many came to Barbados. Although hundreds were sent, no
records survive to identify them. Most were shipped through English
During the Commonwealth period, Scotland had free trade with the
English colonies, and the Scots used this to their benefit.
The Scottish authorities shipped off many criminals to Barbados
and other places.
In the second half of the 17th century Scottish merchants,
planters, seamen, transportees, and settlers were all over the
West Indies, including French and Dutch island. They were welcomed
to replace those who died of disease and to help maintain the
ratio between whites and Africans. The ENglish had few other nations
to help, as the French, Spanish, and Dutch were hostile nations at
this time. The English distrusted the Irish, settled on Montserrat,
because they aided the French and Spanish. The only nation they really
trusted were the Scots.
How do we find these people? You can use indenturship agreements
in the London Records Office and the Register of the PRivy COuncil
in Scotland for those banished from Scotland. Check all of
Coldham's books which contain the names of those banished from England
as many Scots were shipped through England. See jail records from the
Edinburgh Tolbooth Register. See Barbados records. The single
most important source is parish records. Many survive.
In the 18th century immigration greatly expanded, though there
was a social imbalance. Scots in the West Indies were planters,
merchants, colonial administrators, tradesmen and overseers, while
the mainland attracted Scots immigrants from all levels of society
from younger sons of noblemen to peasants.
Jamaica overtook Barbados in importance as well. Many of these
West Indies Scots later moved to the mainland. For example
Archibald McLEAN, physician from Mull, setted in Trelawney,
Jamaica, and then New York. However many loyalists abandoned
their mainland holdings after the Revolution to move to the
British West Indies.
There's no evidence that farm laborers, weavers, or semi skilled
workers migrated from Scotland to Jamaica. Servants indentured
there generally left after the term was served for the mainland
or another island.
In conclusion, Scots could be found on virtually all islands
but those under Spanish control. Janet SHAW visited Antigua
and St Kitts in 1774 and wrote: "Here was a whole company of
Scotch people, our language, our manners, our circle of friends
and connections, all the same." (p 181) .
West Indies Scots moving to what would become the USA are often
difficult to separate from Ulster Scots.
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