by James L. Sweeney
Perhaps the one of the most important historic events in Eastern Caribbean history and
also one of the most fascinating was the defeat and exile of the last independent indigenous
group in those islands, the Black Caribs, by the British in the Second Carib War, 1795-1796.
This war was part of a regional conflict between the French islanders and their allies against the
British, called the War of the Brigands. This regional war was in turn a part of the larger conflict
between the British and Revolutionary France.
For France the conflict in the Eastern Caribbean was a sideshow that helped divert British
power from the main conflict in Europe. For the French settlers and Caribs on St. Vincent, who
sought to expel the British from their island, it was a fight for survival. For the British Empire
the goal of the conflict was to expand and secure British power in the Caribbean, defeat their
French rivals for empire, and counter the values of the French Revolution. The more parochial
goals of the English planters on St. Vincent were to defend their plantations and the capital of
Kingstown from marauding French and Carib attackers, who were seeking to push them off the
island, and to then defeat them and expel the Black Caribs from the prime sugar cane growing
lands that they still held.
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Sweeney, J. L. (2007). “Caribs, Maroons, Jacobins, Brigands, and Sugar Barons: The Last Stand of the Black Caribs on St. Vincent.” African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter 10. Article 7 (1).