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May - August,  2006


The following passages are taken from the autobiography of Mary Prince, an Antiguan slave. 

“ Poor Hetty, my fellow slave, was very kind to me, and I used to call her my Aunt; but she led a most miserable life, and her death was hastened (at least the slaves all believed and said so,) by the dreadful chastisement she received from my master during her pregnancy. It happened as follows:

One of the cows had dragged the rope away from the stake to which Hetty had fastened it , and got loose. My master flew into a terrible passion, and ordered the poor creature to be stripped quite naked, notwithstanding her pregnancy, and to be tied up to a tree in the yard. He then flogged her as hard as he could lick, both with the whip and cow –skin, till she was all over streaming with blood. He rested and then beat her again and again. Her shrieks were terrible.

The consequence was that poor Hetty was brought to bed before her time, and was delivered after severe labour of a dead child. She appeared to recover after her confinement ,so far that she was repeatedly flogged by both master and mistress afterwards; but her former strength never returned to her. Ere long her body and limbs swelled to a great size; and she lay on a mat in the kitchen, till the water burst out of her body and she died”.

From The History of Mary Prince,  A West Indian Slave. Mary Prince’s story was first published by F. Westley and A.H.Davis ( London) in 1831 .


All the slaves lived in barracoons. These dwelling-places no longer exist, so one cannot see them. But I saw them and I never thought well of them. The masters, of course, said they were clean as new pins. The slaves disliked living under those conditions: being locked up stifled them. The barracoons were large, though some plantations had smaller ones; it depended on the number of slaves in the settlement. Around two hundred slaves of all colours lived in the Flor de Sagua  barracoon. This was laid out in rows: two rows facing each other with a door in the middle and a massive padlock to shut the slaves in at night. There were barracoons of wood and barracoons of masonry with tiled roofs. Both types had mud floors and were dirty as hell. And there was no modern ventilation there! Just a hole in the wall or a small barred window”   

Taken from Esteban Mentejo’s “The Autobiography of a Runaway Slave”.                             


SLAVE(an excerpt)
           The Mighty Sparrow  

                                I’m a slave from a land so far
                                          I was caught and was brought here from Africa
                                          Well it was licks like fire from the white
                                           slave master every day ah down on my knees
                                          And it took weeks and weeks
                                          before we cross the seas
                                          To reach  the West Indies. 

                                          And then you work and work and you get no pay

                                          Toil and toil so hard each day
                                           I’m dying ….I’m crying
                                          Oh Lord oh
                                           Oh Lord I want to be free

                      SLAVE ADVERTISEMENTS

 ABSCONDED from the subscriber:
 On the 26th instant, a mulatto Man named Mentor, formerly the property of Miss Mayes; he is well known both in town and country. Whoever will apprehend and deliver him to the Subscriber, will receive the usual reward.                          

The Grenada Chronicle, St. George’s, January 28,1815


 A young Negro Woman who is a cook and House Servant- the Cash will be paid on delivery. Enquire at Mr. Aberdeen’s Store. 

Royal St. Vincent Gazette and General Advertiser, 16 April 1808.  


 A STOUT, HEALTHY, Negro Man of the Ebo Nation, well seasoned to the Island, and sold for no fault, but that the owner is in want of cash. For further particulars, enquire of Mr. Thomas O’Flaherty. 

Royal St Vincent Gazette, 11,June 1808   


 Eleven Field Blacks, enquire at the Office of this Paper

Demerary and Essequebo Royal Gazette, 13 February 1823.


A  GANG  OF BLACKS, Consisting of Field, Domestic, 8c (would suit a coffee property)

Apply by letter to A.B. at this Office

Jamaica Journal, 1 January 1825  

RUNAWAY several months ago, from the Subscriber:- A notorious runaway Negro man named Nelson, too well known to need description, it is supposed he is harboured by his father John Gregg, a Mason on Burton’s Estate. Two Dollars reward and the County Bounty will be given for his apprehension; and all persons are hereby cautioned from harbouring, or employing him, as in case of detection, they will be prosecuted to the utmost rigour of the Law.

JOHN BUNN, Antigua Free Press, 28 May 1828  


 It is requested that no person will employ a Negro Carpenter by the name of Joe Warner, without a note from his Owner.

 Antigua Free Press, 1 August 1828


 VALUABLE NEGRESS and her CHILD for Sale by the Subscriber. HARRIET, about 24 years old, of good character, a House Servant and Washer. JEMMY, about 7 years, her son. Title indisputable.




 The Emancipation
Territory                          Slave Population at Emancipation

Antigua                            23,350
Bahamas                            7,734
Barbados                          66,638
Br Guiana                         69,579
Br Virgin Is.                       4,318
Dominica                          11 664
Grenada                            19,009
Jamaica                           255,290
Montserrat                         5,026
Nevis                                   7,225
St Kitts                              15,667
St Lucia                             10,328
St Vincent                         18,114
Tobago                                9,078
Trinidad                             17,539



Canada                                                                1793
British West Indies                                         1838
Swedish West Indies (St. Bartholomew)      1846
French Antilles &Danish Virgin Islands    1848
Dutch West Indies (Surinam/Curacao)       1863
The United States of America                        1863
Puerto Rico                                                       1873
Cuba                                                                   1886
Brazil                                                                 1888




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