JCB Fellow's Talk: Casey Schmitt

July 18, 2018 - 4:00pm

Casey Schmitt (College of William & Mary), Ruth and Lincoln Ekstrom Fellow

"'A frontier of enemies': the Spanish Caribbean and the English Invasion of Jamaica, 1630-1665"

This presentation examines the intersection of informal trade, demand for enslaved labor, and understandings of legality in the decades before and after the English invasion of Jamaica. Isolated from officially sanctioned trade networks, Spanish residents of Jamaica cultivated commercial ties with foreign merchants who used the island as a refreshment station for both piracy and the slave trade. Although illegal from a Spanish imperial perspective, foreign commerce provided island residents with European trade goods in exchange for cassava, firewood, and salted meat. By analyzing Spanish Jamaica within a regional, Caribbean framework, this presentation also suggests a new way of thinking about the English invasion of the island by asking, not why the English were able to take Jamaica from the Spanish in the first place, but why the Spanish did not take it back.

The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30pm.