Library Resource “Caribbean Newspapers” chronicles History of the West Indies through most of the 18th and 19th Centuries

By Mitch Farish | January 28, 2020

The Library online resource "Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1876" features publications from 22 islands, covering 150 years of Caribbean history (most of the 18th and 19th centuries) in more than 140 fully searchable titles. These documents provide valuable insights into the islands’ sugar cane plantocracies and the traffic in African lives that fueled the empires of colonizing countries England, Spain, France, and Denmark.

"Caribbean Newspapers" is an essential source for research in:

  • colonial history
  • international commerce
  • the international slave trade
  • the African diaspora

These momentous years saw the beginning of the end of European control, and saw enslaved people become the leaders of independent nations. The defeat of Napoleon’s forces by the enslaved population of Haiti in 1804 established the first independent nation of Latin America, the first country to abolish slavery, and the only state in history founded by a slave revolt. In Jamaica, Jack Sharpe’s Christmas 1831 rebellion and the international backlash against the brutal reprisals that took an estimated 500 Black lives paved the way to emancipation in 1838.

From the "Weekly Jamaica Courant," 30 July 1718:

On Saturday last arrived the Sloop Edward and Sarah … from the Coast of Affrica, with … 100 Gold Coast Negroe Slaves, Consign’d to Mr. John Major, late of Kingston, Merchant ...


From the "Jamaica Gazette," 3 Jan. 1765:

Run-away about four months ago, a Negro Man, named DREADNOUGHT … it’s supposed he has been carried away by some of the vessels going to the Main … as he is a good sailor Negro … I do promise a Reward of Thirty Pistoles to any white person upon conviction, or Four Pistoles Reward to any Person that will bring him … He speaks good French and English.


From the "Jamaica Watchman," 7 Jan. 1832:

Do they suppose they would be allowed to burn down the properties of their owners, and go unpunished? … No. The bullet or the bayonet will terminate their existence …