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Buckle up! This week we look at an early 19th century military buckle from the Cabrits on Dominica, AKA the Gibraltar of the Caribbean, the Unfortunate Garrison or the Black Garrison. Why was this fortress known by the latter name? And why was an ornament of the West India Regiment left in a wattle and daub structure in the vicinity of this mighty fortress, together with a needle, glass bottles, French crockery and some other assorted finds? Fortunately, Alice and Angus are joined by Zachary Beier who found this object and the answers to our questions. Want to learn something about the surprising military and social history this object was witness to? Listen to this week’s episode of A History of the Caribbean in 100 Objects!
To look at while you listen to us:
- The importance of the Cabrits for Dominica’s national identity and how it was recently restored, by Dr. Lennox Honychurch.
- An overview of the excavations by Dr. Mark Hauser at Sugarloaf (plantation also mentioned by Zach in this episode)
- The page by the Dominican tourist board on the Cabrits. There isn’t much info there, so if you are interested in going there, why not have a look at Tripadvisor too?
- If this was interesting to you, why not listen to our episode with Todd Ahlmann on a coin he found from the same time period in St. Kitts. We briefly talk about Brimstone Hill and discuss enslaved life as it was outside of the military.
- Zach has recommended the following papers to us:
- Beier, Zachary J. M.
- 2014. The Cabrits Garrison. In The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Archaeology, edited by Basil Reid and R. Grant Gilmore III, pp. 83-84. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, FL.
- 2011. Initial Feasibility and Reconnaissance at the Cabrits Garrison, Dominica. In Proceedings of the XXIIII Congress of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology
- Buckley, Roger Norman
- 1998. The British Army in the West Indies: Society and the Military in the Revolutionary Age. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
- 1980. “Black Man”—The Mutiny of the 8th (British) West India Regiment: A Microcosm of War and Slavery in the Caribbean. The Jamaican Historical Review, XII:52-76.
- 1979. Slaves in Red Coats: The British West India Regiments, 1795-1815. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
- Schroedl, Gerald F. and Todd M. Ahlman
- 2002. The Maintenance of Cultural and Personal Identities of Enslaved Africans and British Soldiers at the Brimstone Hill Fortress, St. Kitts, West Indies. Historical Archaeology 36(4):38-49
- Beier, Zachary J. M.
As always thank you for listening and please share this podcast with friends, family and general fans of cool objects that are part of great and world-spanning histories. Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @theshoresoftime about what you think of the podcast and how we can improve the way we share these stories of the Caribbean and its objects. FYI the podcast has moved to a bi-weekly release schedule for the summer months. We are planning to be back with a weekly release schedule in September.
We’ll talk to you next time, and remember: In this great future you can’t forget your past!
Acknowledgements: This podcast was made possible thanks to financial support by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Alice is employed by University of Leicester’s School of Ancient History and Archaeology and Angus works at Stanford University’s Archaeology Center. Zachary Beier is assistant professor at the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus.