Friday, October 22, 2010

The Second Carib War

The Second Carib War (called by the British, "the Brigand's War") was a critical turningpoint in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It not only gave the British the opportunity to expel the Garifuna completely from St. Vincent but it left the British in a position to repel French attempts to dominate the Caribbean. Because St. Vincent remained a British Colony from 1800 to 1979 the history of the 2nd Carib War is generally described from a British point of view. Only recently, with the recognition of Chief Chatoyer as a National Hero, has there been any attempt to create a history of St. Vincent from anything other than a european colonial point of view.

There is, however, material available forom another viewpoint. Not aboriginal, but at least not British. Alexandre Moreau de Jonnes wrote a memoire of his service as a French spy in the Caribbean during the period of the Second Carib War, and I posted on the internet part of General Abdy's 1920 translation of Moreau's memoir at HTTP:// That has the fault, however, of seeing the action from the limited point-of-view of a footsoldier.

That fault has been provided with a remedy by Dr. James Sweeney in a thesis that includes material from the Moreau memoires in addition to other sources, so that one gets a picture of the entire conflict. Unfortunately it is not in print, to my knowledge, although it would be nice if it were available as a history text in the schools of St. Vincent.

Dr. Sweeney has provided me with a copy of the thesis and after I have reread it and General Abdy's translation I will deposit them in the St. Vincent archives so they will remain available to serious scholars.