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Archaeology of Domestic Landscapes of the Enslaved in the Caribbean$
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James A. Delle and Elizabeth C. Clay

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400912

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400912.001.0001

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Royal Enslaved Afro-Caribbeans in Christiansted

Royal Enslaved Afro-Caribbeans in Christiansted

Exploring the Archaeology of Enslavement in a Caribbean City

(p.188) 9 Royal Enslaved Afro-Caribbeans in Christiansted
Archaeology of Domestic Landscapes of the Enslaved in the Caribbean

Alicia Odewale

Meredith D. Hardy

University Press of Florida

The Christiansted National Historic Site in the US Virgin Islands has served as a landmark site documenting the history of the African Diaspora and Danish occupation in the island of St. Croix from 1733 to 1917. The remains of this urban compound at the edge of downtown Christiansted are a testament to the built environment of royal enslavement in an urban Caribbean port city. Recent archaeological investigations uncovered thousands of artifacts and structural evidence of the former dwelling spaces of royal enslaved Afro-Caribbeans in St. Croix. This small community of individuals were owned by the King of Denmark but worked and lived alongside Danish officers in this urban military and government compound. To gain a more complete understanding of the influence of this built environment on enslaved royal Afro-Caribbeans in Christiansted, this chapter explores the diverse conditions of urban slavery, and then examines the different social and physical challenges that affected daily life in this landscape. The archaeological and historic evidence suggests that this enslaved community was highly skilled but lived in small quarters inside of the larger warehouse structure, where they faced a host of different issues related to an increasingly hostile natural and social environment.

Keywords:   US Virgin Islands, Urban slavery, Built environment, Royal enslavement, Christiansted

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