The People of the Windward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Curacao, 1620-1860


The Windward Islands form part of the Lesser Antilles, which stretch from Puerto Rico to the fringes of Venezuela. Since the 17th century, these islands attracted immigrants from Europe, initially from Spain but soon also from the British Isles, France, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. The Windward Islands include Guadaloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Carriacou, Dominca, and Grenada. This volume covers 200 years of inihabitants of the Windward Islands, as well as those of Curacao, Trinidad, and Tobago, which lie close to the coast of Venezuela.

Some of the early settlers to this region were transported there as prisoners of war or were escaping from persecution, including Jews and Huguenots. The economy and society of the West Indies was very much dependent on slaves brought from Africa. In due course some of the descendants of these various population groups chose to move to North America or to Europe.

In all, Mr. Dobson identifies over 2,000 inhabitants of these islands between the years 1620 and 1860. For each, we are given a name, occupation, date and the source, and sometimes the names of family members, additional dates (marriage, death, etc.), vessels traveled upon, and other details.

This book is based on research into manuscript and published sources, mainly located in Great Britain, but also in the West Indies. A list of those sources is included at the back of the volume.

David Dobson