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III. The Caribbean Islands.
1. The Leeward Islands. 1. St. Thomas
7. St. Eustatius
8. St. Christopher
4. Virgin Gorda 10. Antigua
11. Monserrat 2. Anguilla
12. Deseada 3. St. Martin
13. Guadaloupe 4. St. Bartholomew
14. Marigalante 5. Saba
15. Dominica 6. Barbuda
2. Windward Islands. 1. Martinico
5. Grenada 2. St. Lucia
6. Tobago 3. St. Vincent
7. 'Trinidad 4. Barbadues
Names. Columbus called these islands The Indies, supposing that they were really a part of India. After the discovery of India by Vasco de Gama, in 1498, by an eastern course ; the India of the ancients and the neighboring islands received the name of the East-Indies ; and the India of Columbus, that of the West-Indies.
The islands, called by the English The Bahamas, are styled The Lucayas by the Spaniards.
The word Antilles is generally said to be a contraction of antiinsulæ, or islands opposite to the continent.
Columbus named the Caribbean islands after the Caraibes or Caribbees, the Indians who occupied them when they were discovered. The English sailors give the names of Windward and Leeward islands to the two divisions of this group, in consequence of their relative situation with regard to the trade winds. The Spaniards, however, give the former name to all the Caribbean islands, and the latter to the Greater Antilles.
The Lesser Antilles received their name not of right, but of necessity, as no other had been given to the group.
Discoveries. Columbus discovered the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, in his first voyage, the Caribbean isles in his second, and the Lesser Antilles in his third.
Original Population. The Lucayans possessed the Bahamas; the Arrowauks the Greater Antilles, and probably' a part or the whole of Trinidad ; and the Caraibes the other Caribbean islands, at the time of their discovery. The Arrowauks, however, were the original occupants of these also.
Religion. A majority of the whites in these islands are Catholics; all those in Cuba, Hispaniola, and Porto Rico are of this de
using India F'the the lies.
scription ; and a majority in those of the Caribbean islands, which
80 In Barbadoes and Jamaica
100 In St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John 10,000 Then living in the West-Indies
15,645 In St. Christopher they have met, since that period, with great success, and the whole number of converted blacks is now far
greater. We should not have believed, but on the most irresistible evidence, that the profligate planters, and, if possible more profligate legislatures, have, in many of the islands made the most decided and suc. cessful opposition to the labors of the missionaries.
Governmenis. The nature of the governments of the Spanish colonies has already been explained. In the English islands the government is vested in a governor or captain general, appointed by the crown; in a legislature, consisting of a council appointed by the crown, and of a house of assembly chosen by the freeholders; and in various superior and inferior courts, the judges to which are appointed by the crown. The governor is the ordinary or judge of probate ; and in most islands the sole chancellor ; but in some the council, together with the governor, constitute the court of chancery. No bill can become a law in any island without the assent of the governor. After his assent is obtained it is a law till the dissent of the crown is officially signified. If the assent of the crown is once officially procured, no subsequent dissent can afterwards ahrogate the law. All laws must be in conformity with the laws of England.
Possessora. Cuba, the eastern part of St. Domingo, and Porto Rico, logether with a few islets among the Virgin islands, belong to Spain ; the western part of St. Domingo is independent; Sweden claims St. Bartholomew; Margariita belongs to the republic of Venezuela ; several of the Lesser Antilles are uninhabited and unclaimed. The Bahamas, Jamaica, the Leeward islands, with the trifling exception already made, all the Windward islands, and Bonair, Curracoa, and Aruba belong to the English. It is proper, however, to remark that the Danes lately possessed St. Thomas,
St. John, Santa Cruz and their dependencies; the Dutch, St. Eu: statius, Saba, Curracoa, Bonair, and Aruba ; and the French, Gaudaloupe, Martinico, St. Lucia, and Tobago : and that these islands are now, in common language, respectively called the Danish, Dutch, and French Wesi-India islands.
Inhabitants. The present inhabitants of these islands are the natives the whites, and the blacks. The whites are of two descriptions, Europeans and crcoles. The creoles are whites born in the West-Indies. The blacks are of iwo descriptions ; free people of çolur and slaves. The free people of color include all the mixed, and most of the genuine blacks, in the Spanish colonies ; most of the first, and a few of the last, in the English ; and but a small portion of both in the French. The slaves constitute the great majority of the inhabitants in all the islands, except the Spanish. The appearance and character of the slaves depends much on the district in Africa from which they are brought. As to the treatment of the slaves the Spanish code is the most mild and equitable. The African institution has lately turned the attention of parliament to the cruelty of the English slave code, and to the fiend like tortures inflicted by many of the planters. We hope most sincerely, that the evils arising from both will soon be in a good degree remedied.
('limate and Seasons. Edwards divides the West-Indian year into four seasons of very different length. The spring commences with the month of May. The first periodical rains set in about the middle of the month. They continue about a fortnight. The thermometer, in this month averages 75 degrees, and commonly, fails 6 of 8 iminediately after every diurnal rain. Summer commences about the first of June. The weather becomes dry, settled, and salutary ; not a cloud is to be seen; ard the sky shines willi serene brighiness. The heat is very great in the morning, till about 10; when the sea breeze sets in, and blows with force and regularity from the S. E. till late in the evening. The medium lieat is now 80°, and the mercury is seldom above 850 or below 75o. During the latter part of the summer, which may be considered as lasting till the latter part of September, coolness and comfort are sought in vain; instead of a regular breeze from the sea, there are faivt breezes and calms alternately ; and the thermometer occasionally rises above 90°. The rains cominence in the beginning of October. The heavens pour down cataracts, and the earth is deluged. These violent rains last through the greater part of of November. The hurricane season comprises the months of August, September, and October. About the first of December, a considcrable change is perceived in the temperature of the air ; and a new season commences, which lasts to the end of April. The weather becomes steadily sercve and pleasant, and the tempcrature coul and delightful. This lasts till the month of May, and is, to the sick and the aged, the climate of paradise.
Agriculture. Sugar is the capital object, of agricultural attention in these islands. The three next in importance are cotion, indigo, and coffie; and after them cacao, ginger, allspice, arnotto, alocs, pimento, cloves, and cinnamon. Maize, yapıs, and sweet po.
tatoes, are also extensively raised in the field for home consump-
Sugar is a native of America, for it was found in the Greater
medies Teari mencei about
The monly com
, set: hing
Situation. They lie directly N. of the Greater Antilles, and are
History. Columbus discovered Guanahani, one of this group of islands, on the 12th of October, 1492; and New-Providence, the most important in the group, on the 17th of the same month. In 1667, Charles II. granted all the Bahamas to the duke of Albemarle and 5 others, proprietors of Carolina. In 1672, the first settlement was commenced in the island of New-Providence, and called Nase sau. The islands, soon after, became the resort of pirates, and the regular inhabitants suffered severely, and for a long time, from their attacks, and those of the Spaniards. The celebrated Black Beard, alias John Teach, was their leader. He was kilied off the coast of North-Carolina, Nov. 22, 1718. The islands were cleared of pirates, and a permanent settlement made at Nassau, under governor Rogers. The town was fortified in 1740. Early in the American war, the town was taken by the Americans, but speedily abandoned. The Spaniards took it again in 1781; but it was retaken by col. Deveaux, with about 70 troops, though garri. soned by 700.' Since that time, all the islands have been in the hands of the English.
Original Population. The aborigines were called Lucayans. When first discovered they were about 40,000 în number. Columbus and his men were welcomed by them, with kindness and hospitality. Scarcely 20 years had elapsed, however, before the Spaniards transported them all, by force or artifice, to Hispaniola, to dig in the mines. Some few effected their escape from that is and, though many were frustrated in the design.
Government. These islands are all under a governor general, appointed by the crown. He is commander of the militia; institutes and determines the sessions of the legislature; and possesses a negative on their proceedings. His income is nearly 30001. ster. ling.
Population. The inhabitants are of two descriptions, the resie dents and the wreckers. Froni the loose data furnished by the subsequent account of the several islands, we are induced to believe
that the population of all these islands amounts to 4000 whites, and 11,000 blacks, total 15,000.
The residents are chiefly loyalists and their descendants, who emigrated from Carolina and Georgia, at the close of the Ameri. can war.
M-Kinnen describes the whites generally as having regular features, and the women as singularly beautiful. They are commonly of an amiable and beneficent disposition, mild to their slaves, and public spirited. They are generally acquainted with what is going on throughout the Bahamas, and readily engage in plans of general er local improvement.
Capital. Nassau, the capital of all the Bahamas, is on the N. side of the island of New-Providence. Its harbor is formed by a long narrow slip of land, called Hog island, running from E. S. E. to W. N. W. Several small keys near the W. end of this, render the harbor almost completely landlocked. The body of the town is on the S. side of the harbor, and extends on a pretiy steep accliv. ity, to the summit of a ridge, which runs in the general line of the coast. The streets are regularly disposed, and remarkably well pared. The town is as well built as any in the West-Indies. The houses are chiefly of stone, the materials of most of which were brought from the Bermudas, a distance of more than 200 leagues. The discovery of several excellent quarries in the island has rem. edied this great inconvenience. In the western part of the town is a large openi square, the N. side of which, near the water, is bounded by palisadoes. Immediately S. of this square, on the ridge, are a large fortress and barracks for the troops. There are two churches, for one of which the legislature voted 5c00l. at one session ; and a new court llouse, and gaol, and a work house. In 1803, 10,0001. had been appropriated for building an elegant house for the governor general. In 1801, the town contained 1599 whites, 752 free blacks, and 3861 slaves; total 6212. It is divided into 2 parishes, each of which has a rector, supported liberally, partly by the inhabitants, and partly by the English society for propagating the gospel. The commerce of the town is extensive ; and is carried on with England, with the West-Indies, and with the United States, which supply it with live stock and provisions. The environs of the town consist of gardens, pastures, pineries, and orange groves. The roads along the shore, for some miles on each side of the town, are excellent. The climate is delightful.
Banks. There are iwo noted banks in these seas; the Great and Listle Bahama banks.
The Great Babama bank lies between lat. 21 40 and 26° N. and between lon. 74 50 and 80 20 W. Its length from Verde Key in the S. E. to Isaac's Key in the N. W. is 450 miles. Its breadth in the S. is about 140 miles..
Little bank is bounded by Florida gulf, on the W; N. W. channei on the S; N. E. channel on the S. E; and the Atlantic on the N. E. Its length from the Hole in the Wall, in the S. E. to Maranilla Reef, in the N. W. is about 180 miles, and its breadth from 40 to 70.