Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Joseph Palacio: The Garifuna

I wandered in to the Museum on back street this morning (I was in town to renew the registration on the family car) and there was an exhibition of books about St. Vincent put on by the Gaymes Book Store, although I think many of them were unique copies in Denis Gaymes’ collection.

In any case I bought a copy of Joseph Palacio’s “The Garifuna”. I’m interested in the garifuna, in the part they played in Vincentian history and culture, and in the excellent collection of archeological artifacts that the Museum has on display. But I am particularly interested in the Second Carib War.

Most of the accounts of that war, and the life of the Vincentian Caribs during that period, are based on British sources to whom the Caribs were savages at best and traitors colluding with the French at worst. That was why I was fascinated when Peter Hulme published extracts from the Memoires of Alexandre Moreau de Jonnes in one of his papers. I was more than amazed when Palacio’s book not only contains Hulmes translation of Moreau’s Memoires, but also a “History of the Caribs” by the Marquis De Lambertye. Hulme describes this as being “perhaps the fullest account of Carib life in the middle of the 18th century”.

I put a copy of Gen Abdy’s translation of the Caribbean section of Moreau’s memoire on the internet at

The Palacio book is in print, so you’ll have to buy a copy from the Gaynes Bookstore.