Month: August 2009

Born and reared in the Jacobite court in Rome, Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as the Scots called him, was in his early twenties, good-looking, chivalrous and eager to restore his family’s title as rightful heirs of Great Britain when the opportunity for restoration came with the outbreak of the War of the Austrian



Succession in 1740.[i] Britain and France were not at war with each other: Britain provided aid to Austria and France supported Bavaria and Spain. The situation changed in 1743 when the British decided to send troops instead of financial aid into Netherlands.[ii] This serious military reversal persuaded Louis XV to plan an invasion of England with the aim of restoring the Stuarts, thereby ensuring that Britain would take no further part in the war. In 1744, Charles Stuart arrived in Paris, but a storm destroyed the invasion fleet and the plan to conquer England was delayed. In 1745, with a little help from the French, Charles had two ships fitted out for an expedition to Scotland. In July 1745, Charles Edward landed in Scotland, declared his father, James III, King of Great Britain, raised an army and, defeated the English at Preston-pans.[iii] 

   In reprisal, George III sent his oldest son the Duke of Cumberland on a campaign to destroy the clans forever. The steps taken to destroy the clans were barbarous executions, the eradication of clan culture and the imposition of martial law. Furthermore, the English felt that they had to get rid of Catholicism and destroy the clan system, in order to control the “savage” Scots, who were always presumed to be Catholic or followers of the Jacobite movement. However, Scottish society and culture was already blending with English culture, and therefore the extermination of clan society was a purely racist policy implemented by the Duke of Cumberland.


      Scotland and England in the eighteenth century were predominantly Protestant.  Most of England and the Lowlands of Scotland supported the Hanoverian succession, but there were some, especially in the Scottish Highlands, who remained true to the Stuarts, whom they thought to be their legitimate monarch, and eventually pledged allegiance to the Stuart banner.  The defeat of the Stuart army at the battle of Culloden was a severe blow to the Highlanders and the British policy was cruel and inhumane afterwards. The English intended to exterminate the Highlanders so that they could never again sponsor a Jacobite rebellion. The Hanoverian regime fully understood that wars and rebellions were funded by royalty and the rich banks of Europe. The reinforcement of major garrisons within Scotland and the execution of the captured officers would have been enough to destroy the rebellion.

   However, a policy of genocide was imposed on the Scots, and the Chiefs and peasantry were rounded up for slaughter.  In a letter to the author of the National Journal, the writer describes such indignation to the body such as wounded men after battles being clubbed and bayoneted to death; others were also castrated and burnt alive. Prisoners were also starved and kept naked within their own filth. They were denied medical treatment and their wounds were left to become gangrenous.[iv]  These atrocities were common in the History of the English people and their relationship to the Gaelic speaking people of Ireland and their cousins living in the Highland region of Scotland. These acts of brutality were only the opening efforts at destroying the Highland culture. The British degraded the native people even more by raping their women. The women living in the islands and Highland areas were obliged to climb and hide themselves in caverns that were somewhat inaccessible when they were warned of a planned mass rape—‘skulking in a starving condition till the men of war sailed away or marched on to another town.[v] The British policies after Culloden were about executing rebels; they were about breaking the dignity and will of the people. 

   Well into the second week of the aftermath of the battle of Culloden, the English   activities were increasing in depravity. It became apparent that the English were not about to stop the killings of the Gaelic people until their culture was exterminated from the Scottish highlands. These barbaric acts are not well known because history is usually documented from the conquerors’ point of view and there are no documents that depict the story of the burning of crops, destroying of cottages or killing of cattle. NEWTON1

   A month after the battle of Culloden, it was decided that the leading rebels would be executed in London.  Kennington Common was the place appointed for their executions and as the spectacle was expected to be attended with those circumstances of barbarity by the English law of treason, the London mob had assembled in extraordinary numbers to witness it.[vi]  These executioners were barbaric because they were ordered to hang the rebels, cut their heads off and disembowel them. This procedure was achieved by cutting the rebels down from the scaffold just before they went unconscious. The disembowelled intestine was then burnt in the fire. The heads of rebels were then stuck on stakes and the body parts were discarded like garbage. After 1746 they were no vivacious supporters of the Jacobite cause in England or Scotland.

   To an Englishman of the eighteenth century, and to most Lowland Scots, the Highlands of Scotland were a remote and unpleasant region populated by barbarians who spoke a meaningless tongue, who dressed in crude skins, worn out kilts, and who equated honour with cattle-stealing and murder. The Highlanders were a threat to the people of the Lowlands as Scottish history portrays the tale. In the thirteenth century, Scotland’s most famous patriot William Wallace was conceivably betrayed by Lowland Scottish nobles who had supported Edward I. All through the Middle Ages and into the period of the eighteenth century, the Lowlands were developing at a different cultural rate than the Highlands. The Lowland towns were similar in culture and industry with the towns of Northern England. On the other hand, the Highland way of life covered a system that was tribal, and very much similar to feudalism. At the time of the rebellion of 1745, it was understood that Charles Edward’s alliance with the clans showed no blood or kinship relation. This bond was an understanding that Protestant Britain was a dangerous enemy.   

   After the defeat of the Stuart army, the plan of the English was to eliminate the Highland culture from Scotland. The English government portrayed the Highlanders as one of the biggest threats to the Protestant faith. However, many chiefs were Protestant and their clan members were Catholic. The Highland way of life was more than religion; it was kinship and bonding under one banner which was one’s last name.  Every clansman shared the same last name.  From boyhood, from the moment his foster-mother weaned him, a Highland chief began to understand, or at least to enjoy, his peculiar position in life. He was of the same blood and name and descent as his people, but he stood halfway between them and God.[vii]  So after the battle of Culloden; necessary steps such as the banning of kilts, playing the bagpipes and the destruction of the Clan rituals were all important steps in eliminating the clan. piperwithplaid

    The Dress Act was part of the Act of banning which came into force on the first of August 1746 and made wearing “the highland Dress”, including tartan or kilt, illegal in Scotland.[viii]The banning of the Kilt was used to control the Gaelic people because the British government then turned around and recruited trusted Highlanders to wear a form of the uniform in the newly created Black Watch guard who served in areas such as British North America and Australia. The playing of the bagpipe was also banned in Scotland after the uprising of 1745. The bagpipes were considered an instrument of war by the British government. In this period anyone carrying a bagpipe could be subjected to the death penalty. The British allowed the Scottish Highlanders to keep their cultural dress and bagpipes if they joined the army. Highland culture was implemented into the British army to fight wars in distant territories and the kilt and bagpipe was banned in Scotland for nearly 60 years.

   These penalties could only be described as martial law. After the defeat at Culloden, the conduct of the magistrates was completely changed; and the fury of the soldiers and the people of the lowlands were directed at the church and Highlanders. Their chapels were burnt down and the gold ornaments and other riches were stolen by the British government. In the parliamentary session of 1747, several acts were brought forward and passed, for the purpose of preventing future disturbances on account of the succession. The most important of these acts were the, Episcopalian Act, the, Disarming Act, the, Act of Legislation and the, Act of Companion.[ix]    

   The Episcopalian church was the most powerful institution in Scotland. When the Stuarts lost the crown of Britain, the Episcopalian church came under from the Presbyterians, on account of the injudicious persecutions bringing upon the Presbyterians.[x]  The Presbyterian Church came to be known as the Protestant supporters of Hanover and the established Episcopalian church was marked as the religion of the Jacobites.Scotland-Chapel_Balnakeil_Durness

   From the Union of settlement in 1707, Scotland gained much freedom from Britain and the greater portion of the educated, the nobility and the wealthy had supported the Episcopalian church. After the battle of Culloden, Episcopalian churches were burnt and ransacked by the poorer people and the soldiers of Britain. An act was passed, less than three months after the conclusion of the war, by which it was ordained that any Episcopalian clergyman officiating after the 1st September 1746, without having taken the oaths of allegiance, abjuration, or without praying once, during the performance of worship, for the King, his heirs and all royal family, should , for the first offence suffer six months imprisonment and for second offence (upon conviction before High Court ), be transported to the penal colonies for life.[xi] Moreover a huge debt was put on the Episcopalian church, whereas the Episcopalian clergyman had to pay this debt before he could take up worship in this church.

   Episcopalians could not meet in groups of five or more individuals with ministers. This meeting would be classified as a church gathering and the gatherers were subjected to a fine or imprisonment. Eventually the bill was rewritten to state that no Episcopalian church was guaranteed the right to worship in England, Scotland and Ireland. The British government then decreed that any Episcopalian member could not run for a government seat. This act effectively killed the Episcopalian church in Scotland. Many of the members feared that they would lose their lands and titles if they supported the Episcopalian church. The Episcopalian church grew old with the Jacobite cause and the next generation after the rebellion of 1746, worshipped in the Presbyterian Church.  

   The Disarming Act was introduced to stop the Highlanders from carrying any kind of weapon; a gun, knife or sword. This act was changed to cover anyone living in the Highlands. A heavy fine was set and if the fine could not be paid within a period of one month, t he lawbreaker was transported to the colonies as a soldier. If the guilty person was a woman or they were too old to serve in the army, they were imprisoned for six months; upon release they were put on probation or watch for ten years. The gun and weapon laws greatly affected the Highland culture. These men were hunters and warriors. They could no longer hunt or duel amongst themselves. Their lands were stolen and on occasion some of their farm tools were destroyed because the British government believed they could be used as weapons. The Highlander was blamed for a war that originated in the royal prerogative right of succession to the British crown. This war of succession, which originated in 1689, was finally being put to a close with the extermination of the Gaelic culture and the subsequent assimilation of lower and upper class Scotland into the realm of Britain.

   The plan of the British was to destroy the will of all people of Scottish descent and to possibly turn the Highlands into a plantation colony, like they implemented in 16th century Ireland and lesser comparison to the slave colonies of the West Indies. Further evidence of the previous statement is found in the Act of Legislation and the Act of Companion. The Act of Legislation was created to abolish heritable jurisdictions in Scotland. It put an end to the Highlanders judging civil and criminal cases amongst their own people.[xii] The Companion Act abolished the right of ward-holding, by which the landlords commanded military service of their tenants. By these means, the last conspicuous feature of the feudal system was brought to an end in Scotland[xiii].250px-Pettie_-_Jacobites,_1745

   The spirit, youth and vibrancy of the Jacobite movement was broken by the harsh policies of Britain. Jacobitism was left to rot in an unmarked and unblessed grave. As the decades passed, the movement was long forgotten because all the rebels were now dead and buried beside that unmarked grave. Many heroes and martyrs were born during the rebellion. The most famous being Flora Macdonald (1722-1790) who disguised Prince Charles as a woman and guided him through the toll stations set up in the islands.

   In conclusion, the Highlanders loved their Prince and no amount of money could have persuaded them to hand him over to the British. He toiled in Scotland for six months after the battle in 1745. The policy implemented by the British is very similar to the occupation of Ireland. During the summer of 1690 and in the next twenty years, the English reduced the Irish to a condition of virtual slavery. The Catholics, who composed four-fifths of the population, now owned but one-seventh of the land. A series of penal laws kept Catholics from public office, voting, teaching, purchasing of land and many other beneficial things needed to succeed in life.[xiv]  A similar but more severe system was instituted in the slave colonies. The Gaelic Highlanders were the brothers of the Irish and they understood the cruel process of colonization. This rebellion was more about eliminating the Stuart claim, but more important destroying important factions that stabilized the country of Scotland.

   The most cohesive forces in 18th century Scotland were the Highlander’s and the Episcopalian Church. The Episcopalian church as its foundation in the Anglican Church, but the British policy was to take away this upper class Scottish institution from the people, so they could be subjugated further and become assimilated into British society. Britain has always had a caste system a system where Ireland and Wales were easily tamed. Scotland had always fought the English so fiercely. Scotland downfalls were its illicit encounters with Spain and France. In 1745, England had decided that her protestant lover Scotland had opened her back door for the last time to some dashing catholic despot. It was time she paid for her insubordination.         forres-findhorn-elgin-film-family-4042007-006-225x300  

  Charles Stuart was never to return to Scotland or raise an army again to support his family’s claim to the British throne. In old age he mentions in his letters the sadness he felt in causing such pain and devastation to the Highlanders of Scotland. . The court came to the conclusion “no highland regiment ever marched without a piper of kept alive in secret. in the eyes of the law, was an instrument of warfare” He suffered death on the 6th November 1746.herefore his bagpipes in the eyes of the law, was an instrument of warfare” He suffered

[i] Micheal Hook and Walter Ross, The Forty-Five-The Last Jacobite Rebellion (London, England: Stationery office Press 1995), p4

[ii] Ibid…p5

[iii] Clayton Roberts, David Roberts and Douglas R. Bisson, A History of England-Volume two  1688 to the Present  (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall 2002), p452

[iv] John Richardson, Atrocities in Mid Eighteenth-Century War Literature: Eighteenth-Century Life   (Volume 33, Number 2, Spring 2009), pp. 92-114

[v] Micheal Hook and walter Ross, The Forty-Five-The Last Jacobite Rebellion (London, England: Stationery office Press 1995), p119

[vi] Robert Chambers, History of the Rebellion of 1745  (Edinburgh, Scotland: W&R Chambers Limited 1869), p443

[vii] John Prebble,  Culloden   (Ipswich, England: Atheneum 1962), p42

[viii],history-of-the-kilt,page.php  (accessed june 8th 2009)

[ix] Robert Chambers, History of The Rebellion of 1745  (Edinburgh, Scotland: W&R Chambers Limited 1869), p481-484

[x] Ibid…p485

[xi] Ibid…486

[xii] Ibid…484

[xiii] Ibid…485

[xiv] Clayton Roberts, David Roberts and Douglas R. Bisson,  A History of England Volume II 1688 to the Present  (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall 2002), p409


The African Diaspora was the relocation of African people to the Americas and across the globe. The term is applied in particular to the descendants of the Black Africans who were enslaved by Arab and Portuguese slave traders and shipped to the Americas by way of the Atlantic slave trade. africa

Upon arrival in “American colonies” the African people came into contact with the native population who were to a lesser degree than the African people subjugated and enslaved by the European people. What is surprising to some readers to learn is that the greatest mixture of African and Indigenous people did not occur initially in either the Americas or Africa, but rather in European cities such as Seville, Lisbon and Valencia[i]  This contact has not been studied for a variety of reasons, one of the principal reasons is to dissolve the claim that Negro and Indian blood had established itself in the European genetic pool at such an early period in history.     

   Slavery was quite common in the Mediterranean world in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In Christian Barcelona, one finds numerous slaves between 1275 and 1288 classified as Muslim of intermediate color, white Saracen and black Saracen. In the thirteenth century Barcelona had many Greek, Turkish and Russian slaves.[ii] The arrival of American captives in Southern Europe did not present a controversy. Columbus was the major supplier of American slaves prior to 1500. He sent about six thousand indigenous Indians to Europe.[1]  In 1770, Great Britain outlawed slavery and the slave trade ended in Britain in 1807, when authorities agreed with the growing number of abolitionists (those who argued that slavery is immoral and violates Christian beliefs) and outlawed the trade. In 1833 slavery was abolished throughout the British colonies as the culmination of the great antislavery movement in Great Britain.

   We have come a long way from the enslavement and cruel treatment of our African and Indigenous ancestors. Many people today categorize West Indians of African descent as African American. They also classify Indigenous people from any region as being Native Indian. This classification is based on their physical appearance, ignorance and their dilemma in history.  This journal is written to identify the differences people of African and Indigenous descent in the Caribbean and South America have with black Americans and Native people of North America. People of African and Indigenous descent have differences in food, music, experiences with slavery, language, and religion. The social, economical and political nature of each region has gone far in moulding these groups of people into distinct individuals.

         It is stated that two great mixed races have developed in the Americas. The one in which African ancestry is strongest we can call ‘Eastern Neo-American’ because it is most characteristic of the eastern half of the Americas.[iii] The other one, in which American ancestry is strongest, we can call ‘Western Neo American’ because it is most characteristic with areas like South America, Central America and the west coast of America. The two groups are similar in components but different in the order of the races. This subtle difference is a common factor in the social and cultural differences of the African and native people of the regions in the Americas.

   For example the people of African descent in Guyana share a similar Eastern Neo-American grouping of black Canadians and Americans. However, they are uniquely different in culture. This is evident in the cooking, and music. In Guyana and the Caribbean regions the most important food are rice, coconut and various tropical vegetables such as plantain. Rice and coconut milk is cooked with a variety of meats such as chicken, beef or fish. The most important spice in the West Indies is curry. All the major groups of people living the West Indies cook with curry. The spice curry was introduced to the West Indies with the coming of East Indian migrant workers.

  In America and Canada, the diet is not as spicy. Black Canadians who migrated to Canada lived on a diet of pumpkin, squash, potatoes and beans. This was eaten with beef, chicken or some other meat. In the Eastern region of America, the diet was potatoes, fish and lobster. In the nineteenth century lobster was not considered suitable for a gentleman to eat. Lobster was the staple diet of the poor people living in the east coast.  

   The type of food you ate depended on climate and availability. In regions of South America, the native people were excellent fishermen, moreover there were a variety of wild meats such as sea cows, laba, watrous and antelope. The indigenous people of the South American region also introduced other Guyanese to exotic fishes such as epapterus which is a prehistoric looking cat fish. The tropical temperatures only provided for more exotic foods.

  In Canada, the native population’s diet is similar to all Canadians. It was the native people who grew corn and squash. Moreover, the indigenous people hunted for deer, caribou, buffalo, fish, bear, and possum. In various regions of America and Canada they would hunt and eat different foods. For example in the South-western United States both the Papago and the Navajo Indians ate different things.  The Papago eat beans and rice just like the Mexicans and Hispanic people. The Navajo Indians ate tacos with meat.[iv]

   In looking at the cultural history of the Americas we must understand that it is written and dominated by white Europeans. Black people, of all shades, feel that their culture is not represented fairly. Black Americans declare that they are not like the other black people who migrated to America. Black Americans believed that they endured more than any other group during the antebellum period and the height of slavery in the 18th century. African Americans do not believe that other black groups such as people from the Caribbean, South America and Africa could identify with what they went through. Black Americans believe that these groups could easily live the American dream. In actuality Blacks in the Caribbean and South America experienced slavery and their native people were subjugated to a more or equal experience as the African American and North American Indian.  

   The black and Indigenous people from the West Indies and southern regions of the western hemisphere suffered and fought just as hard or harder for their freedom. The black Caribbean’s history is entwined in colonialism, the plantation system and slavery. Although Guyanese black people earned their freedom three decades before Black Americans, the black people in Brazil did not obtain their freedom until Brazil abolished slavery in 1888. Furthermore, the Brazilian government acknowledges to the United Nations that at least 25,000 Brazilians today still work under “conditions analogous to slavery.” The top anti-slavery official in Brasilia, the capital, puts the number of modern slaves at 50,000.[v] Also the working environment and economic condition is still an important factor in the development of culture and identifying regions as second or third world. North Americans are classified as super powers, whereas regions in South America, Central America, and the West Indies are rated as second to third world nations.West_indies_federation

   Hypothetically speaking, it is the African American, Canadian of African descent and the native population who has the advantages of living the American dream. Evidence of the previous statement was proven in the course titled Black Indians and Native-Black Relations in the Americas. This course had a large impact on my thinking and the way I viewed other minorities. Many people in the past century have immigrated or obtained asylum in North America. These people have escaped their homelands for various reasons, such as fear of being persecuted for their sexuality, politics, high concentration of crime and an understanding that there are better opportunities in Canada, America and the rest of the world.

    Diaspora is the mass migration of one group of people from one region to another. The African Diaspora is commonly identified with colonialism and the millions of African and Indigenous people who served the Europeans in the gold mines, sugar, and cotton plantations. In this world we still experience the pain and cruelty of Diaspora. In Africa and South America there are unmarked graves of hundreds of people who were murdered for their land or because they chose the wrong political faction. In Cuba a majority of the population cannot leave their island to vacation in some other region. Haiti and Guyana are considered two of the poorest countries in the world. Haiti and Guyana also have the highest mortality rate due to AIDS, malnutrition and murder. It is an unfair fallacy for African Americans and Native Americans to consider their predicament more severe than any other group in this hemisphere.                  

   Another important cultural difference is the music of the Indigenous and Black people of North America. The native music of this group is very different from the music of the West Indies. In the West Indies and Brazil the music is influenced by the African beat. Reggae is characterized by a heavy backbeat rhythm, meaning the emphasis of the beat is on, for example, beats two and four, when in four/four. This backbeat is characteristic of all African-based music and is not found in traditional European or Asian music. Reggae drummers also emphasize the third beat when in 4/4 time with a kick to the bass drum.[vi] Other influence in the Caribbean is Latin American music which refers to the music of all countries in Latin America (and the Caribbean) and comes in many varieties. Latin America is home to musical styles such as the simple, the habanera of Cuba and the rhythmic sounds of the Puerto Rican and the Andean flute. Latin music is routed in the Brazilian, Portuguese, Haitian, Spanish and Creole languages of the region.

   In America, the music of the black people is the blues. The blues originated in the deep south of America. The blues is the father of country music, hip hop and rock and roll. The term “the blues” refers to the “the blue devils”, meaning melancholy and sadness; an early use of the term in this sense is found in George Colman‘s one-act farce Blue Devils (1798).[vii] The blues symbolizes the oppressed black man or in country music the jilted lover. All genres of music closely related to blues speak of drinking to ease the pain and violent oppression. Genres such as the blues have implemented melancholy and sadness in their music. It is the African American way of keeping their history alive.




   Another example of melancholy in a variety of genre of music is the country anthem of working in the coal mines of Kentucky or West Virginia. I believe that people of colour in the Latin Caribbean regions understand oppression, but they believe in singing about their heroes and romanticizing life. One only has to listen to the music of Bob Marley to understand that we black and native black people revere and love Africa and political leaders such as Castro, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.

   In Brazil, and the Caribbean, the indigenous population’s contribution to music and celebration is entwined in calypso music, and other Latin music. The indigenous culture is prominent in the various carnivals of the West Indies and Brazil.  The music of Caribbean and Latin people is based on romance, sex and political freedom. The genre of blues is based on death, depression, melancholy and hard times.

   In North America “Pow Wow” is the Native American way of meeting together, to join in dancing, singing, visiting and renewing and making new friends. The Pow Wow is like a carnival or celebration. The Pow Wow festival is centered on the drum and dance. This festival has always been a way of documenting the history of non-white peoples. In America many blacks and native people to a certain extent do not celebrate their victories and achievement in music. Even the upbeat music of hip hop relies on lyrics such as a cheating spouse or a man or woman who is extremely well endowed to symbolize sex as opposed to true love. In looking at Latin and West Indian music, people sing and tell stories of their heroes. This is an important cultural and artistic difference between the two groups of people. We as Caribbean people sing and worship our heroes. We know and understand of the oppression of slavery. But we choose to leave that behind and not mire in the sadistic cruelty of slavery and the racist policies of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

   In looking at slavery we have seen how the Island Caribs, Black Caribs and Garifuna were perceived by their Amerindian, European, and African slave neighbours. These people are recognized as heroes because they avoided being shackled in a period that had no human rights for the African and indigenous people of the region. Garifuna strength encouraged other slaves to form outlaw communities such as the Maroons in Jamaica. The Garifuna struck fear into the hearts of all who faced them in the Lesser Antilles and later Central America.  


   What is important is to know where and how Africans came to the Caribbean. Enslaved Africans destined for Caribbean labour were abruptly thrown onto the shores and to the mercy of the Island Caribs of St. Vincent, an island first named, and claimed, by the Spanish, then the British but thoroughly ignored by both.[viii]  The Black caribs came about between 1600 and 1796, not only from shipwrecks, but through Island Carib raids and maroons fleeing their cruel slave masters and intermarriage with other Caribs. St Vincent grew in reputation as a black and indigenous Shangri-la. The Black Caribs along with the Island Caribs and Garifuna should then be perceived as people to be worshipped by enslaved blacks, Indians and Abolitionists. The Black Caribs were traders in sugar, pigs, cattle, cotton and tobacco. The Black Caribs were capable sailors who transported their goods from Martinique to Trinidad in their great canoes.[ix] In 1763, St. Vincent was returned to British colonial jurisdiction under the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years’ War between Great Britain and France.[x] The Treaty of Paris was instrumental in the relocation of the Black Caribs to British Honduras which is now known as the country of Belize. The Carib’s culture is entwined with the French culture. Their names were French, African and Arawak and they drank wine instead of rum.   

   Arguably, Americans cannot perceive a culture of Black and Indigenous American people living to together and forming a cohesive administration that went against the inhumanity of slavery and other evils of colonialism. The two groups that could be compared to the Caribs and Black Caribs were the Seminole Indians in Florida, Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Debatably these groups at any conceived time clearly believed that the African black slave was inferior to the red man. The previous statement is open to debate because history does tell us of The Seminole Wars which were the longest lasting and most expensive wars the U.S. had ever engaged in up to that time. The Cimarron or Seminole tribe was forced into the interior swampland of Florida. This community was never really defeated and the American government handed reserve territory over to the tribe. The Seminoles were a combination of runaway African slaves, indigenous people, and impoverished people from various cultures. The refusal to give up African American tribal members led to the first and second Seminoles wars and the place in history as a brave warrior nation. Today the black Seminoles are in a constant battle to maintain their status as full members of the Cherokee and Seminole Nation.1.1237962360.the-cherokee-nations-museum

   The African American and the native population in North America believe that they were the only groups to suffer indignation. It is the one negative characteristic that separates them from the Caribbean, Central America and South America. In quickly looking at native people in Canada and America, the major negative characteristic that differs from Aboriginal people in South America and the other regions we have discussed is blood quantum. Over time, blood quantum has become a symbol of who is or is not Indian and by what percentage.[xi] The government defines whether someone is a “real” Indian or not by measuring their blood. The number of generations of all your ancestors was pure-blood by the number of marriages with people who aren’t pure-blood. It’s a really bad way to define somebody’s culture, but it is the white government who implemented this law. It is unfair that a government can tell you that you are not Indian and you know that you are Indian. Being Indigenous is more than colour of skin; it is being a part of a culture.

   I am a Black Guyanese a few of my family members are Arawak Indians. These cousins are of black and Indigenous, East Indian origin. Moreover, they were raised “buck” and will always be buck {a term in Guyana for Indian} no matter how much black or Chinese or white blood they claim to hold. These family members can claim benefits with funding provided for them. In America, all Seminole Freedmen have attempted to receive benefits. The key point of the case is that Seminole Freedmen have been denied benefits based on their African ancestry and that Judgement Fund benefits are restricted to members with a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood. These people are being excluded from the tribe because of their black blood.[xii]         

   In South America the language is predominantly Spanish with the exception of French Guiana (French), Dutch Guyana (Dutch), British Guyana (British) and Brazil (Portuguese). For example the Guyanese people predominantly speak English, but Portuguese, Hindi, Mandarin and several indigenous tongues are prevalent in the country. In looking at the Garifuna language, it is a mixture of French, English, some African words, Cariban and Arawak. The Cariban language as died out whereas the Arawak language as strived. The explanation is that the Cariban people would kill their enemies and take their wives. The women would then teach Arawak to their offspring. Evidence to support this claim is found in the tongue of the Garifuna people. The Black Carib’s language is spoken in Hondurus, Guatemala, and Belize. The language in Belize is known as Black Carib, but it is an Arawakan language with Carib influence.  At one time, men used Carib, lexical vocabulary, and women Arawak vocabulary, though both on an Arawak grammatical base, but this distinction has dwindled to only a handful of words.[xiii] 

    Another difference in language includes the fluid rhythmic vocabulary of the Jamaican people and the Creole language found in Trinidad, St Lucia, Jamaica and any seaport around the world. Creole is a language that was adopted to differentiate between the Upper class British and native people that they colonized. The Creole language could be natural to any race of people around the world so the British Empire was that large.

    After the Seven Year War 1756-1763, English became the dominant and only tongue for culture and business. In Louisiana there was a group of people known as Acadians who spoke a broken French known as the Cajun language. The Acadians were a displaced group from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In the southwest regions, Spanish was a striving tongue and in Lower Canada, which became Quebec, the habitants were able to keep their culture and francophone tongue.

   In researching the indigenous people of the various regions we have studied a similarity in decline; however, the indigenous people of the Caribbean and the southern region of the Americas are not pressured to relinquish their dialect and ethnic culture. In North America people are led to believe that native language is useless to survival and civilized culture. Nevertheless, language is the heart of a people’s culture. During the antebellum period and from the beginning of the slave trade, foreign languages and religion were not encouraged in America. Slave owners believed that the slaves would more easily be able to rebel if they were encouraged to teach their own language and customs.

   The most intriguing comparison is the movement of religion and the religious practices of the ethnic people coming from regions outside the territory of America and Canada. The religion in the Caribbean islands and the other tropical locations outside of North America can only be described as vibrant and exotic. On the contrary, religion in America and Canada was very simple and traditional. Religion as we understood religion was used to convert the native people of British North America. In Upper Canada it was the Jesuits and there extreme form of Roman Catholicism. The Jesuits forced religion on the native people and when they started to die of disease it was the native women who had blamed the Jesuits for bringing a strange omen and death to their villages. However, conversion continued and the native people were forced to set aside their own religious beliefs and values.

   The Jesuits arrived in Brazil in 1549 with the first royal governor, Tome de Sousa, and a new stage began: evangelization.[xiv] The Jesuit’s were used to bridge the contact between the European and Indian world. The Jesuit’s were closer to the Indian women and children in Brazil because they gave the indigenous women opportunities. For example the Jesuit policy in Brazil was to rebuke any Portuguese for having a large number of concubines. Many of the Portuguese settler men repented and married these women. On the contrary, seventeenth century New France witnessed the government, with the aid of the Jesuit “declare,” concubine and Indian marriages an abomination to European culture.6a00e54efdd2b38834010535ebc17f970c-500wi

   The Filles du roi, or King’s Daughters, were courageous women who were sent to New France by King Louis XIV of France between 1663 and 1673. They numbered over 750 and consisted of country girls, village girls and orphans. These young women of marriageable age and capable of bearing children were part of King Louis’ program to promote the settlement and increase the population of New France. Their transportation and settlement expenses, as well as a dowry of 50 livres for many of them, were assumed by the royal treasury.[xv] The idea in New France was to secure French culture in the region. When the British secured New France, Louisiana and the land west of the Mississippi the assimilation and destruction of the native people was even crueller. 

   Religion had more impact on people’s lives in North America. Religion was one way of justifying that the white people were chosen by God to rule the world and the people of colour. During the antebellum, period Americans fought to reform society in order to perfect America and its people. The leading reformers were Quakers who had for centuries fought for the African slave’s freedom. In the southern regions, the Methodist movement evolved and the Mormon faith was growing in Utah and the surrounding regions.

   The antebellum period brought about changes in attitude toward slavery and changes in religious circles. In the 1780’s, Methodists–who represent a standard example–had formulated strong rules against slavery, and slaveholders. Slavery was deemed to be “contrary to the laws of God, man, and nature, hurtful to society and, contrary to the dictates of conscience and pure religion.” The Methodist church even pushed for its members to free their slaves.

   During the early history of slavery, African slaves tried to hold onto their spirituality. These rituals and dogmas were variously described as Witchcraft. Whites were threatened by these “pagan practices,” and as a result, all blacks who practiced this faith were severely beaten or sometimes put to death and within a generation the African language and culture was lost in America. The only alternative to assure the slaves respected white culture was to preach fear into their hearts with religion. The slave master had wanted them to understand that a higher power had granted Europeans the title of the master race and they had wanted them to abstain from revenge.

   In 1831, fear was spread into the white people because of a rebellion that killed 55 of their own people. This rebellion is known as the Nat Turner rebellion. Nat Turner was a runaway slave.  Afraid for their lives, their investments, the civil peace, and the preservation of the South’s way of life, whites demanded–and their state legislatures passed–laws curtailing the rights of African-Americans to assemble, to worship, to become literate, and to do much more, except under strictly controlled circumstances.[xvi] At the same time, this fear and anxiety was producing an outpouring of concern to make Christians of the slaves in the hope that they might learn to turn the other cheek, and to accept their lot in life.

   Christianity was very much different in the Caribbean, Central Americas and South America. In St Vincent, the Black Caribs had implemented the use of the drum in their Christian religion. As stated in the article titled “These Sons of Freedom”, a drum was used to induce possession trance by ancestors, the “Carib” practice of a shaman blowing smoke on a patient’s afflicted body to extract malevolent penetrations, and “Catholic” baptism and images of saints.[xvii]  The Black Carib’s religion was based on holy sites, and using relics to heal, such as bones. The Carib’s ministers used the title Buyeis, which was a Shaman in the classic sense. The Christian religion of the Caribs was nothing close to the Christianity that we knew. It was connected with the Catholic faith, and African and indigenous people to the island. This exotic feature to Christianity is founded in the freedom of the Garifuna people and also the policy of the white settlers to give their slaves a certain amount of freedom to practice dancing and music which was incorporated into the Christian religion of the Caribbean.98326-the-tallest-wooden-structure-in-the-world--an-anglican-church-georgetown-guyana

   Much of the culture in the Caribbean island differed from Canada and America. We must remember that the territory of British North America had a larger white population who worked or benefitted from slavery, farms, or industrialism and expansion of business ventures in the Northern United States. Moreover, the white population was always smaller in the tropical regions.

   Culturally we have two unique machines of destruction. In North America, one drop of black blood made you first black blood, whereas the islands and Brazil had no one drop rule. There were people classified as white in the island who had a percentage of black blood. For example if you look white and your father was white you could be classified as white. Also your brother who was darker maybe classified as black. In these regions you were identified by how you looked.

   Therefore, people of a lighter caste were at times given special privileges because of a white father or Indian mother. Many of these children with a white father were able to travel the world and venture to other regions and live comfortably. I can mention names such as Alexandre Dumas who is still considered one of the finest writers of all time. Alexander Dumas mother was half black and his father was of French planter nobility stock.

   Freedom was also achieved by African slaves impregnating Indian women. The Spanish and Portuguese had passed a law that a child born from the womb of an indigenous woman could not be a slave. Eventually the islands had a large population of free Mulattos and Creoles who would push to marry lighter or white to move up the social scale. This was the case in Argentina; a country which it seems has few people of African descent.

   The period of colonization was very difficult for African, Indian and mixed blood peoples. The melancholy and anger expressed by black people can be understood. However, African American Indians and black people must realize there are horror stories dealing with colonization across the globe. In the 16th early century the Spanish soldiers in South America would routinely rape and disembowel the guts of pregnant women for sport. Further speculation could see the Portuguese and Spanish government fearing God and asking for penance-thus deeming the children of an Indian woman free for the debauched behaviour of soldiers of a previous century. Either way, pregnant slave women were not slaughtered in the United States. A slave was a very important and expensive human or commodity as described by slave owners.

Statue Christ Redeemer Brazil
Statue Christ Redeemer Brazil

    38 percent of the slaves were sold to the colony of Brazil to work in the sugar and coal mines. The life expectancy of these slaves was seven years. In America only the harshest sugar plantations of Louisiana could produce such a deadly comparison. Being a slave must have been hard in any region. Imagine not being able to choose your own wife or never seeing your child again. Imagine your daughter being raped by an old white man. These experiences are tougher to survive and deal with than a whip.

    Today it is sad to think of the West Indies, Haiti and some regions of Brazil, because they are many people suffering in these regions. There is little I can do to help my kin but send clothes food and money. The country of Guyana is one of the poorest countries in the world and Brazilian cities are known as the murder capitol of the world. Everyone would like to leave these regions and immigrate to America.

   Americans see other minorities as having too much but they have not witnessed real poverty, hunger and mass murders. America is one of the richest countries in the world. The African and Native people of America are some of the most educated and talented peoples. There are many African and native institutes that are of higher learning. On the contrary they are many people in these two groups that have chosen to fade away.

    There is an old saying that says that the sun never sets on the British Empire. In reality, at one time in our history the sun could never set on European colonial rule. I have learned much from this course. Mostly important I have learned to support people of all minorities. In researching this journal I have learned about the East Indians who migrated to Europe in the 16th century; these people are called gypsies. I have learned of the black woman of Muslim heritage who married a Medici banker and produced a black heir. We also talked about the people of the Americas who visited Europe and travelled to places like the Philippines. Research will also reveal black Roman soldiers buried in Great Britain. We the Black and Indian are truly a unique group to overcome so much and travel so far.    


   I found this to be the most challenging and uplifting course I have ever taken. In conclusion I would say that the history of the Cimarron community of Palmares was the most important thing I learned from this course.  The Cimarron of Palmares was the longest lasting and largest slave community known in the Western hemisphere. This community of ex-slaves lasted almost a century, and grew as large as fifty thousand strong. The capacity to survive in the hills of Brazil against continual efforts of Portuguese slaveholders to destroy the community is incredible. The fact that Palmares was also a multicultural community illustrates the ability of a socialist and democratic society’s strength under the shadow of a capitalistic slave regime. This community was unique and wonderful because much of the Muslim, African and Indigenous culture was kept alive in Cimarron culture. Today the Cimarron culture is influential in carnival, music, African Indigenous martial arts and fashion. The Brazilian women in this region still cover their heads and wear clothing that is central to Islamic culture. Finally, the shipment of people from the Americas as slaves beginning in the 15th century was the beginning of a laborious journey. I felt sad when I realized how vast slavery was around the world; however I was enlightened with the knowledge that so many people of colour rose up and fought. It is ignorant and naive for African Americans and Indigenous people of America to believe that they as a group suffered more from the people of African and Indigenous ancestry living in the regions of South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Courtney Duncan.

Courtney Duncan







[i] Jack D Forbes, The Intensification of Contacts Trans-Atlantic Slavery and Interaction, after 1500 (Black Indians and Native-Black Relations in the Americas Fall/Winter 2008-2009 Course Kit), PG#37-38

[ii] Ibid….pg#37

[iii] Ibid…pg#56

[iv] (accessed July 11th 2009)

[v] (accessed July 13th 2009)

[vi] (accessed July 13th 2009)

[vii] (accessed July 13th 2009)

[viii] Christopher Paul Johnson, These Sons of Freedom: Black Caribs Across Three Diasporic Horizons” in Diasporic Conversions: Black Carib Religion and the recovery of Africa. (Black Indians and Native-Black Relations in the Americas Fall/Winter 2008-2009 Course Kit), PG#105


[ix] Ibid…pg#107

[x] Ibid…pg#107

[xi] Ibid…pg#189

[xii] Ibid…pg#191

[xiii] (accessed July 15th 2009)

[xiv]Nora E. Jaffary Gender, race and religion in the colonization of the Americas: Women and Gender In Early Modern World  (New York, New York: Ashgate Pub Co; illustrated edition, August 2007), PG#24

[xv] (accessed July 16th 2009)

[xvi] (accessed July 16th 2009)

[xvii] Sir William Young, “These Sons of Freedom” Black Caribs across Three Diasporic Horizons (Black Indians and Native-Black Relations in the Americas Fall/Winter 2008-2009 Course Kit), PG#108-117

Who were the pioneer women of British North America? “In general, they were the women of native and European origins who inhabited the British portions of North America that later became Canada. However, the approach of this essay is to focus on the female “half” of the United Kingdom migration of the early nineteenth century.”[i] These pioeer

women were Protestant, Roman Catholic or one of several other Christian denominations such as Presbyterian. They were considered the first European settlers on the land. The woman’s role in her village not considered as important as the man’s role, but they filled the vital operation of maintaining the first households of British North America. Each village had its own distinct cultural or religious differences. Some of the primary duties that were entrusted to women included milking cows, picking fruits, school teaching, working in factories and knitting. The children in these villages played and attended church together, and went to the same school. As they grew older, they would become engaged to or married to someone from within their community.

There are thousands of letters, poetry and newspaper articles documenting this time period in history. These documents tell a story of courtship, community bonding and sometimes family tragedy. The primary documents I have chosen to analyze are the personal letters in 1873, between, Margaret Thompson and William Donnelly. It is not difficult to realize why I have chosen these letters. “The woman    Margaret had chosen as her husband a member of the ‘Black Donnelly’s’, a family deeply embroiled in feuds so virulent that they had persisted through emigration from Ireland to tear apart the New World community of Biddulph with murder and arson.” [ii] In researching these letters and analyzing other secondary sources, I realized that pioneer women did not necessarily marry for love. They were important factors that ensured a marriage and courtship such as: the consent of the parents, the economical level of the young couple and the acceptance of church and community. This essay will explain courtship, marriage and the key factors contributed to securing a healthy relationship between two a man and woman in nineteenth century women

The determination and tribal quarrels of the Irish have been documented in historical readings that go back to the time of the Romans. The family of James and Johanna Donnelly emigrated from Tipperary, Ireland, to Canada, and settled on land sold by the Canada Company. The Donnelly’s were squatters; they had built their home on land already acquired by homesteaders as the following quotation shows. “In 1855 John Grace, sold the southern lot 50 acres of Lot 18, Concession 6 to Michael Maher for £200. However, the Donnelly family is still living on the land.” [iii]  That same year he is charged with shooting at Patrick Farrell, likely for some sort of squabble with the land. “In 1856 John Grace applies to eject Donnelly from the northern half of Lot 18, Concession 6. Michael Maher does the same for the southern half of the property. In the end, however, Grace sells Donnelly the southern half of the property for £50 –far less than the £200 paid by Maher due to Donnelly’s improvements on the land.” [iv]  The dispute was settled in court and the Donnelly’s were able to keep the southern portion of the land. “During a logging bee (rising of a barn) at a neighbor’s farm James Donnelly Sr. kills Patrick Farrell with a handspike. James Donnelly goes into hiding and a $400 reward is offered for his capture.” [v]  James was sentenced to be hanged but a petition for clemency orchestrated by his wife saw his sentence reduced to seven years in the penitentiary.

In 1873, the sons of James Donnelly started a stagecoach line. The stagecoach business was very successful for the Donnelly’s. In the spring of 1873, Margaret Thompson agrees to marry William Donnelly. Her father sends her away because he does not want the marriage to happen. In researching the letters of Margaret Thompson and William Donnelly, I have found that courtship in the 19th century was subject to various ethnic qualities and similarities. If the couple had too many differences they would mostly likely not be considered a good match. For example, the Donnelly’s were Roman Catholic and the Thompsons were Protestant. The principal objection to William Donnelly was his Roman Catholicism. The Thompsons were Presbyterians’ and Margaret’s father did not want her to have to renounce her beliefs. “The Thompson family also could trace clan members such as Edward Thompson on the Mayflower in 1620”. [vi]  The Thompson’s were a prominent clan in Upper Canada and in regions of the United States. This family had established pioneer villages in the areas of Scarborough and Biddulph Township. In comparison, the Donnelly’s were a Roman Catholic Clan who came from humble beginnings in Ireland.

Exchanging letters meant a “special friendship” that radiated love and romance, which led to marriage. The pioneer people believed that marriage was the alliance of family. Marriage could not be possible unless the heads of the respective families agreed that both households had the same economic, social and spiritual expectations. In the case of Margaret and William Donnelly, her father was more worried about the social acceptance of the proposal. William Donnelly was handsome, ambitious and somewhat wealthy. However, he came from the Roman Catholic part of the town of Biddulph.

Even as love became the basis for marriage, the role of parents in the mate selection of their children declined, but they still continued to maintain some control over the process.[vii] Courtship meant acceptance into a higher or equal social scale or plummeting to the bottom of the social line. In the 19th century, families of high social status were always aware of the situation of the future son-in-law or daughter in-law. It was always the father’s job to decide inclusion or exclusion.

In a 19th century letter from James Caldwell, father of Mary Caldwell, to the man she hoped to marry, William Lindsay, illustrates the previous point. In the letter he explains that he was not made aware that his daughter was courting a young man. “He states that he knew nothing of the matter beforehand (although his wife did, and he was bothered that this had been concealed from him).” [viii] James then states that a match with the Lindsay family was not the problem, but that the young Lindsay’s age and economic situation would entail poverty and misery upon his daughter and their son. Young people in this period understood who their parents would consider a respectable partner. The economic situation of the couple was very important.  Women in this period were economically poor: they depended on their father and when they got married, if they were working, they most likely relinquished that work to become housewives. Consequently, their future husband’s salary had to be enough to support the lifestyle they had been raised in.

Money was not the one and only issue in deciding if a couple would marry. In the case of William Donnelly he was wealthy, but was still not good enough for Margaret Thompson. In the Victorian era, working as a maid, barkeeper, waitress, or even owning a successful stage coach business excluded you from mixing with certain social groups. The economic factor also looked at the skill level of the individual and the characterization of the village. They could be farming villages, or villages associated with forestry and hunting. Moreover, pioneer communities could be found closer to the upcoming cities or in very isolated areas. In choosing a partner, the person usually mated with someone who was accustomed to their village’s lifestyle and livelihood. For example lawyers would most likely be found living in cities or villages close to the large capital. A farmer would most likely want a wife who would do work around the house but when needed to help in the fields. Women who met men who were not very well known to them would investigate the man’s character and economical situation before allowing that person to court them. Couples coming from similar economical backgrounds played a vital role in a successful courtship and marriage. However, as important as the family was in marriage choices, the church and community also played a significant role in courtship. 

Canada in the 19th century was mainly a place of small villages. These villages and towns differed by ethnicity, economy and religion. Communities were just as judgmental and nurturing when it came to couples marrying. The Charivari was another social ritual through which the community oversaw marriage. “The Charivari is a popular tradition in pre-modern Britain, France and Germany; it took root in North America during the early years of colonial settlement and persisted well into the twentieth century.” [ix]  The Charivari was a form of popular protest and a social ritual. Pioneer communities in the Victorian period could oversee a marriage by implementing Charivari. The Charivari was used when an old man married a younger woman or when an old woman married a younger man. For example the young man, by marrying an old woman, cannot have children with her; a strong working body is therefore not produced for the next generation.

There were other instances of Charivari as edited in the following note. “I am no friend to the blacks; but really Tom Smith was a quiet good natured fellow, and so civil and obliging he soon got a good business. He soon persuaded a white girl to marry him.” [x]  The marriage created a great feeling of negative emotions in the town. The young men of the town were determined to give them a charivari and punish them for the insult they had inflicted on the town. It was winter and the young men dragged him out of bed and mistreated him so badly he died from the wounds. The affair was silenced; and life went back to normal.  Charivari spoke for the community. Charivaris were also endorsed by the local ecclesiastical houses of each township. The custom of Charivari had dated back to medieval Europe. Charivari is an unwritten law and practice, this practice was entwined in British North American culture. All of the villagers believed in the Charivari law. It was allowed to develop untouched by the government for 4 centuries of European rule within British North America.

In Lower Canada, the Roman Catholic Church projected itself as the protector of the French culture. Archbishops and priests were very prominent at all government levels. In villages and small towns the influence of the priest was often equal or superior to that of the town’s mayor and police officer. The archdioceses were instrumental in maintaining political and social structures that “hold on” to French Canadian qualities. Because of the church, all French Canadian villages and towns kept their social identity. This identity was kept intact by French people marrying their own inhabitants.

In summary, the history of courtship and marriage holds broad implications for three further issues in the social history of the nineteenth-century. These implications are the rise of the working class, the women’s movement and the movement of new immigrants to the big cities. By the 20th century, the women of Canada had achieved much economical, social and political freedom. Women had a choice of whom they wanted to marry. They did not have to depend on a husband’s wage to survive. A hundred and fifty years later, the old factors still linger when couples take the path to marriage. However, the ethnic barrier has been crossed and society today can witness a modern day Heath cliff (Wuthering Heights) or Florentino Ariza (Love in the Time of Cholera) court a woman of a higher social caste.


Courtney Duncan




[i] Beth Light and Alison Prentice, Pioneer and Gentlewomen of British North America 1713-1867 (Toronto, Ontario:  New  Hogtown Press, 1980), p1

[ii] Beth Light and Joy Parr, Canadian Women On The Move 1867-1920 (Toronto, Ontario: New Hogtown Press, 1980), p115

[iii] (accessed May 11th 2009)

[iv] (accessed May 11th 2009)

[v] (accessed May 11th 2009)

[vi] (accessed May 11th 2009)

[vii] Francois Noel, Family life and Sociability in Upper and Lower Canada, 1780-1870  (National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication, 2003), p20

[viii] Ibid….p20

[ix] Peter Ward, Courtship, Love and Marriage in Nineteenth-Century English Canada (Quebec City, Quebec: Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data, 1990), p112

[x] Beth Light and Alison Prentice, Pioneer and Gentlewomen of British North America 1713-1867 (Toronto, Ontario:  New  Hogtown Press, 1980), p113