During the 17th and 18th centuries Jamaica was a major destination for Scottish emigrants. Besides the Covenanters banished and the Jacobites imprisoned in Jamaica, the first “voluntary” Scots emigrants landed in Jamaica in 1700 as refugees from the failed Scots colony of Darien on the Isthmus of Panama. Many of the early emigrants were Highlanders from Argyll encouraged by Colonel John Campbell, a survivor of the Darien experience. By the mid-18th century an estimated one-third of the white population of Jamaica was Scottish or of Scots origin. Scotsmen came to view Jamaica as a place where fortunes could be made, and consequently Jamaica attracted planters, merchants, physicians, clergymen, skilled tradesmen, and other professionals. Some settled permanently, while others returned home after acquiring wealth. A number of American Loyalists, notably from the Southern colonies and including Scots, settled in Jamaica after 1783. Jamaica continued to attract Scots immigrants into the following century; even the great poet Robert Burns planned to immigrate to Jamaica but abandoned his plan at the very last minute.
This book identifies many of the early Scottish settlers to that island. Based on sources–both manuscript and published–in Scotland, England, and Jamaica, the author identifies upwards of 3,500 Scottish inhabitants. For each he cites the individual’s name and occupation, at least one date, and the source. Where available he also provides such particulars as reason for emigration, name of sailing vessel, next of kin, educational institution attended, and so on. Besides a list of sources, the book concludes with an alphabetically arranged list of the ships that took part in the Jamaica transportation.