In 1655 Oliver Cromwell, as part of his “Western Design,” invaded and captured Jamaica, which had been a Spanish colony. The Spanish heritage is evident in many of the island’s place-names. Most settlements in Jamaica were established and named by incoming settlers, primarily from England with a minority from elsewhere in the British Isles. Jamaica’s economy was largely dependent on the production of sugar cane, which resulted in slave labor largely brought from Africa. Jamaica was also a destination for prisoners of war, rebels, and criminals–transported in chains–to be sold as servants to the planters there. Many artisans emigrated from English ports, notably Bristol and London, as indentured servants to Jamaica and were employed by merchants and planters who paid for their passage and maintenance for a few years before the servants were free to settle. The majority of white settlers in Jamaica clearly had their origins in the British Isles; however, the Caucasian population also included French Huguenots, American Loyalists, and Jews.
While this source book may identify a handful of Scots named in Dr. Dobson’s Scots in Jamaica, 1655-1855 [Baltimore, 2011], the individuals found in this much larger book were culled from entirely different sources and, moreover, emigrated primarily from England and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the British Isles. The compiler identifies each of the more than 2,000 Euro-Jamaicans in the volume by name, a date, one other point of specificity, and the source. In many instances we also learn the individual’s country or locality of origin, names and relationships of kin, vessel traveled upon, occupation, college attended, or other identifying features.
This compilation is based on a range of primary sources, published and manuscript, located in libraries and archives in Jamaica, England, Wales, and Scotland, including the American State Papers for the West Indies, the magazine Caribbeana, the Jamaican Historical Review, and the Journal of the Committee on Trade and Plantations.