The Irish in Jamaica during the long eighteenth century (1698-1836)

  • Karst de Jong

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In 2007 Nini Rodgers published Ireland, slavery and anti-slavery (1645-1865), a book that brought together a vast range of new research, which encompassed the entire Atlantic basin. Her study covered an extended chronological period, starting as far back as the sixteenth century and concluding with the abolition of slavery in the middle of the nineteenth century. This was a groundbreaking work in many respects and was described as ‘an invaluable platform for future studies of Ireland and the black Atlantic’. For the first time, an academic work on Irish history explored the aspects of Ireland’s involvement in slavery, with a particular focus on the Caribbean. The book considered the first forays the Irish made into West Africa and Latin America, before moving on to the West Indies, North America and Ireland. Rodgers’ focus was mainly on the Irish involvement in slavery, but she also chronicled the connections that were developed with other European settlers and their networks. Her study outlined the unique position of the Irish in the West Indies, specifically those of the Catholic religion, who were able to move between the various islands with relative ease. She also emphasised the restrictions imposed on them. In many ways, Rodgers’research was the catalyst for the thematic approach taken in this dissertation. While there is less emphasis here on slavery, the focus on the Caribbean made her book an important point of reference from which to develop the context of the Irish connections with Jamaica, an unexplored aspect of her work.The research has taken place in London, Dublin, Belfast and Jamaica. Due to the fragmented nature of the primary source material, the dissertation has been divided into two sections. The first will provide the historical context, while the second will present the primary source material in specifically themed case studies. The School of History and Anthropology assisted with a travel grant for a visit to the National Archives in London. The Royal Historical Society part financed a two-week research trip to Jamaica to consult the government archives in Spanish Town. The University of the West Indies assisted with accommodation. The dissertation has been presented in accordance with the rules set out by the Irish Historical Society and the spelling has been modernised.
Date of AwardJul 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorSean Connolly (Supervisor)

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