The English settlement of St Christopher, 1624 - 1629
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This thesis provides a detailed study of the initial English settlement of St Christopher in the Leeward Island chain of the Lesser Antilles from 1624 - 1629. This activity has been largely overlooked in the historiography, where the focus in this period falls primarily on the English colonies of North America. A considerable weakness of imperial history lies in the lack of representation of the indigenous inhabitants of the West Indies during this time. By incorporating approaches from the Atlantic perspective and also pan-Caribbean historians, including the use of ethnographical evidence combined with English and French primary source data, a fuller picture of the settlement will be achieved with the native population playing a full role in the history of the island for the first time.
The main focus of the thesis is on this interaction between Thomas Warner’s English settlers and the indigenous population of St Christopher. This study will show that through supplying provisions and cleared land the natives of the island made a considerable contribution to the survival and success of the first English permanent settlement in the West Indies. This represents an adaptation of the natives’ culture of contact in order to access iron tools. The English strategy was calculated to ruthlessly exploit the initially amicable trade relations, seeking to take more native land by force when the colony was strong enough to do so. The causes of conflict between the two parties will be assessed from both a local and regional perspective, demonstrating the complexity of the interactions, and correcting the narrow focus of the imperial settlement narrative.
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