Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 or Email ALL news to:newsvino@outlook.com; ads call 1-284-440-6666                               Tune into 90.9FM from 04 September until 12 October for the 2019 Caribbean Premier League: visit www.cbnvirginislands.com for more information: 1 284 340 3461

The truth of English colonization

An artist impression of the cruelties of slavery in the Caribbean. Photo: Provided
The facts of Sir George Somers role in English colonization truly is undeniable. What is often glossed over is that he was shipwrecked on Bermuda, whilst he was actually heading to Virginia, to colonize land that did not belong to England. Photo: Provided
The facts of Sir George Somers role in English colonization truly is undeniable. What is often glossed over is that he was shipwrecked on Bermuda, whilst he was actually heading to Virginia, to colonize land that did not belong to England. Photo: Provided
During the Emancipation celebrations in Bermuda the topics of the enslaved writers, Mary Prince and Sir George Somers, the English privateer, has come up for discussion. Various views points, highlighting vastly different perspectives, have been fielded from a myriad of Bermudians. Photo: Provided
During the Emancipation celebrations in Bermuda the topics of the enslaved writers, Mary Prince and Sir George Somers, the English privateer, has come up for discussion. Various views points, highlighting vastly different perspectives, have been fielded from a myriad of Bermudians. Photo: Provided
By Thomas C. Famous

It is often interesting, sadly interesting, to see persons attempt to twist the reality of any given situation in order to justify a gross wrong.

Once again during our Emancipation celebrations in Bermuda the topics of the enslaved writers, Mary Prince and Sir George Somers, the English privateer, has come up for discussion. Various views points, highlighting vastly different perspectives, have been fielded from a myriad of Bermudians.

Diluting the truth 

That in itself shows that we are a diverse and vibrant society. However, as diverse as we are, there simply is no room for diluting the truth about colonization and slavery.

Over the last few days, I read some things that go beyond the imagination.

“I understand the sentiment but how do you curse the root but want to bless the fruit? Sometimes we have to slow down and provide some real thought behind our statements. Somers was a colonizer, Somers was more than likely a pirate. However Bermuda in fact prison island, Bermuda, certainly benefited from piracy and also had a colony. We colonized Turks for our salt business. We ran the blockades and hosted both sides of a war. Without Somers, there is no Prince. We have to put the components in their correct place. We could have been Spanish, we could have been Portuguese ... We are British currently because of Somers.”  - C. Anthony Francis

“Mr. Rolph Commissioning had George Somers not discovered or got shipwrecked in Bermuda which led to the British colonising Bermuda, you, your family, mine and countless others including our slave champion, Mary Prince, would not have this legacy within slavery to hold in great esteem. Had Bermuda been colonised by another European country how slavery would have played out is anyone's guesswork.”  - Valirie Marcia Akinstall

It seems, at first glance, that there is a narrative that we should be happy that we were enslaved and colonized by the English and not some other European nations such as; Portugal, Spain, France, Holland or Denmark.

Ok, let us get something straight, Western Europe’s dominance of the Americas was built on the genocide of millions of indigenous persons from what is now known as Canada, all the way down to what is now known as Argentina.

Essentially, the aboriginal persons of an entire continent were annihilated by the Europeans, including the English, via; disease, torture and outright mass execution.

Untold millions slaughtered 

In the Caribbean, untold millions of Arawaks, Caribs and Taino people were slaughtered and enslaved by the Dutch, English, French, Spanish and Danish. There was no nation that treated the natives with respect.

“Bloody Point is a headland in Trinity Palmetto Point Parish, Saint Kitts. The Stone Fort or Bloody River runs towards Bloody Point. In 1626, English and the French invaders massacred most of the Carib population at Bloody Point.”

“In 1797, 5,080 Caribs - the majority of St. Vincent's population - were forcibly removed from the island by British troops and banished forever to Ruatan Island, off the coast of the Republic of Honduras.” 

“The first people known to have inhabited what is today the Virgin Islands were the Carib, Arawak and Ciboney Indians. These indigenous people are believed to have left and/or been forcibly removed by the late 1500’s.”

Those same European nations, along with Portugal, then instituted the Trans Atlantic Slave trade which saw tens of millions of Africans transported to the Americas, to toil in the hot sun on plantations of; sugar cane, cotton, onions, tobacco and all other forms of crops used to feed the growth of modern Europe.

Enslaved Africans were often treated harshly. First, they had to survive the appalling conditions on the voyage from West Africa, known as the Middle Passage. The death rate was high. One recent estimate is that 12% of all Africans transported on British ships between 1701 and 1807 died en route to the West Indies and North America; others put the figure as high as 25%.”

“In August 1626, Thomas Warner returned to St. Kitts with over 100 more English settlers, enslaved Africans and provisions.” 

The British Empire has the dubious record of the large amount of islands where they slaughtered the natives, colonized the land and then enslaved Africans. Here is a list of places colonized by England: Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands (British).

Natives defended land 

Does anyone think, for a second, that the native people just handed over their islands willingly to the English? The reality is that the English, the likes of; Sir Francis Drake and Edward Hawker, the colleagues of the privateer Sir George Somers, went around the Caribbean slaughtering the natives and taking their land and natural materials by force.

So, for anyone to say Had Bermuda been colonised by another European country how slavery would have played out is anyone's guesswork, beggars belief. Actually, slavery is slavery, no matter the slave owner. They were all equally as evil.

The facts of Sir George Somers role in English colonization truly is undeniable. What is often glossed over is that he was shipwrecked on Bermuda, whilst he was actually heading to Virginia, to colonize land that did not belong to England. 

Lest we forget, that land belonged to the Native Americans, who, they themselves, were slaughtered and enslaved in order for England to achieve colonization of North America.

In Bermuda, the original people of St. David’s, the Pequots, are a living testimony to that enslavement, as they are the descendants of those same persons who were taken from their North America and exiled to Bermuda.

So, in conclusion, history reveals the true barbarism of how the British Empire was built by genocide, land theft and slavery.

Now lets us ask ourselves this singular question: “Who should we honor during Emancipation? The colonizer or the liberator? ”

 

1 Response to “The truth of English colonization”



Create a comment


Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Weather


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.