The History and Archaeology of the British Virgin Islands and Their Meeting
Chapter 2 provides a history of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) themselves and how their unusual place in the colonial process produced a more isolated, poorer set of white colonists than many other Caribbean islands. The marginal agricultural potential of the BVI left them uncolonized longer than most islands and European settlement began there in a haphazard way, with no formal government, church, or other institutions. This left the settlers free to experiment with new social forms, such as Quakerism, the arrival of which is also recounted here. But this isolation also posed challenges and left them in precarious positions. This chapter also introduces the Lettsom family who will be the focus for the study along with their island of Little Jost van Dyke, before describing the archaeological work undertaken to address the project’s questions. The remainder of the volume takes up the themes of simplicity, equality, and peace, shifting between written and archaeological evidence to understand how BVI Quakers understood and enacted these ideas differently than Quakers elsewhere.
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