1655 England divided into 12 military districts by Cromwell; seizes Jamaica from Spain

Sir Alexander Bustamante was a national hero, founder of the Jamaica Labour Party, the nation's first prime minister, and one of Jamaica's best loved and most colorful political figures. He used to boast that he was fifty percent Irish, fifty percent Jamaican and ten percent Arawak.

If ever a man could have been said to have kissed the Blarney Stone and have "the gift of the gab," it was the Right Honorable Michael Manley,twice Prime Minister of Jamaica and president of the People's National Party.

Claude McKay, that great Jamaican radical poet, also of Irish descent, wrote at the height of the Black and Tan War, "I suffer with the Irish. I think I understand the Irish. My belonging to a subject race entitles me to some understanding of them."

"There is more of the Irish in Jamaicans than perhaps they realize, and more of the Jamaican in us than we care to admit. It's there in our accents, our love of laughter, of wine, women and song. It's present in our love affair with the turf and horses -- and the gambling that goes with it. It's there in our shared fondness for Arthur Guinness and John Barleycorn, and our willingness to live for the moment and let tomorrow look after itself. These are the traits that others readily identify in both nations and why at home and abroad we are "bredren!" "

One Love,  Rasrob Mullally



By David Dobson

The Scottish connection with Jamaica dates from 1656 when Oliver Cromwell banished 1200 Scots prisoners-of-war to the recently acquired English colony there. Subsequently the island attracted a growing number of Scottish immigrants who generally arrived as indentured servants. At the same time the government in Scotland was exiling criminals and Covenanters to Jamaica. The last group of Scots to arrive in Jamaica during the seventeenth century, comprised a number of refugees from the failed colony at Darien. Jamaica seems to have had a special attraction for Scots, as an observer in 1763 reckoned that one-third of the white population there were Scots or of Scottish origin.

Little evidence survives to identify the majority of these Scottish emigrants – however, amongst the documents in the Island Record Office in Kingston, are a number of testaments which seem to be those of early Scottish settlers. Regrettably, in the majority of cases the documents contain little or no reference to Scotland, and only refer to friends and relatives in Jamaica.

An exception is the testament of John Macfarline, which identifies him as the son of John Macfarline at the Water of Leven, Lennox, Scotland. It also contains reference to his wife, Alice, and their son, John; his sister Eleanor, the wife of Thomas Anderson, carpenter near the Water of Leven; John Cross, a planter in St.Ann’s parish, Jamaica; James Gray; and his executors, William Watson from Aberdeen, a merchant in Port Royal, Jamaica, and Joseph Norris, also there; subscribed on 13th September 1689 and witnessed by John Birch, John Chalkhill and Edward Dendy. Probate given 13th January 1690, Jamaica.

The Scottish connection with the Caribbean started in 1611 with the voyage to the West Indies of the Janet of Leith. It was not until after 1626, however, that Scots actually settled in the Caribbean. In 1627 King Charles I appointed a Scot, James Hay, Earl of Carlisle, as Governor of the Caribbees. This appointment led to a steady migration of Scots to Barbados and other islands. While there was a degree of voluntary emigration, the majority of the Scots in the West Indies arrived unwillingly. In 1654, Oliver Cromwell transported five hundred Scots prisoners-of-war. Felons or political undesirables, such as the Covenanters, were sent to the islands in chains directly from Scotland. In addition, the English Privy Council regularly received petitions from planters requesting Scottish indentured servants. Because of this, a steady stream of indentured servants sailed from Scottish and English ports to the West Indies.

During the 1660s the Glasgow-based organization called the Company Trading to Virginia, the Caribbee Islands, Barbados, New England, St. Kitts, Montserrat, and Other Colonies in America established economic links with the West Indies. By the latter part of the seventeenth century, Scots merchants, planters, seafarers, and transportees were to be found throughout the English and Dutch colonies of the Caribbean. In total, it is believed that as many as 5,000 Scots settled temporarily or permanently in the Caribbean before the Act of Union in 1707. The settlement of Scots in the West Indies was important from the point of view both of the colonist and the home country. Many of the colonists used the islands as a stopping-off point before continuing on to the mainland of America, where they then settled. Alexander Hamilton and Theodore Roosevelt are numbered among those who descend from Scots who initially settled in the Caribbean.

Once the Act of Union of 1707 eliminated restrictions on trade between Scotland and the American colonies, emigration to the West Indies increased rather substantially. To a larger extent than elsewhere, the colonies of the West Indies attracted Scots with skills or
money to invest. Scotsmen figured prominently in the Indies sugar cane, cotton, and tobacco-growing businesses, a phenomenon which promoted trade between the Indies and the mainland ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Savannah. In due course, families moved between these various locations, and links were established. The Scottish population of the West Indies also increased when many Loyalists took refuge there following the American Revolution.

Scots in the West Indies

In the compilation of "Scots in the West Indies, 1707-1857," author David Dobson combed archives and libraries in Scotland, England and Denmark to find the first listings of Scottish inhabitants of the West Indies between 1707 and 1857. While the full impact of Scottish settlement in the West Indies has yet to be fully researched, Dobson has clearly broken new ground in immigration source material. Arranged alphabetically by surname, many of the entries in this volume were culled from Scottish newspapers such as the "Aberdeen Journal," in which notices would appear seeking to employ managers and servants. In all, nearly 3,000 Scotsmen are identified, each by full name, island inhabited, date and source of the information, and sometimes by occupation, name of parent's, and education.

"Scots in the West Indies, 1707-1857," is a soft-cover publication and sells for $22, postpaid. It can be ordered from Clearfield Company, 200 E. Eager St., Baltimore, Md. 21202.


James Hay. James Hay was one of the young Scottish gentlemen who accompanied James I to England in 1603. He was a power at court, a valued counselor of the King. In 1627 he was made Governor of the Caribbee Islands. However, another powerful noble, Philip Herbert, Lord Montgomery, also claimed the Islands and had placed a governor there, pre-empting Carlisle's rights and income. Charles I eventually sent a Royal Commission to go to Barbados to arrest the Herbert governor. Carlisle's secretary, Peter Hayes, was one of the King's envoys with this Royal Commission to the West Indies. The dispute was settled in 1640 by which time Carlisle had died, but his son the second Earl established his hereditary right to Barbados, then called the Carlisle Islands, and actually settled there for the duration of the Civil War.



Barbados Redlegs . As the demand for sugar grew so did the demand for labor, and it became the custom to "transport" political dissidents, felons, and other undesirables as an alternative to hanging. Oliver Cromwell "barbadoed" hundreds, and these were later joined by the remnants of the Army of the Duke of Monmouth, sent there after the Battle of Sedgemoor by Judge Jeffreys in 1686. Few survived in the climate, and although some of their descendants can still be seen in Barbados, where they are called "Redlegs". Another source of labor was sought, and it was found in Africa.

Early Barbados:

Colonization of Barbados began in February 1626/7 with the arrival of the William and Mary, containing eighty settlers and ten negro slaves. Other vessels immediately followed, and a list of inhabitants possessing over ten acres each names 758 settlers living there in 1638. (This list was published in William Duke, Memoirs of the First Settlement of the Island of Barbadoes (I 743), and has been reprinted in NEHGR XXXIX:132-44.)

Henry Whistler's journal for March 1654/5 records of Barbados, "This Island is inhabited with all sortes: with English, french, Duch, Scotes, Irish, Spaniards thay being lues: with Ingones and miserabell Negors borne to perpetuall slauery."

Civil strife in England brought successive waves of emigrants: discontented Scots under the Stuarts, Cromwell's opponents, Protestants following the bloody Monmouth reprisals, indentured servants, transported "vagrants, rogues and idle persons", and various sorts of opportunists. These brought the white population to over 20,000, where it remained until near the end of the century.

In this, its 'golden age", Barbados became the richest colony in English America-thanks largely to Sephardic Jewish capital, Brazilian Dutch expertise, and a thriving slave trade-and its most populous, except for Massachusetts and Virginia.

Migration from Barbados began in earliest times and continued until the Revolution. The first colonists of Maryland, for example, departed England in the Ark and the Dove on November 22, 1633, and arrived at St Clement's Island in the Potomac by way of Barbados.

According to A. D. Chandler, "In the years 1660 to 1667 some ten thousand people, mainly landless freemen and small farmers, left Barbados, followed in 1668 to 1672 by four to five thousand people, mainly of the planter class, and in 1678 to 1681 by another two thousand planters." ("Expansion of Barbados", in Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society XIII:II4, 124-34.)

The generous provisions of the 'Act to encourage the bringing in of Christian servants to this Island' of June 20, 1696 brought in over 2,O00 white servants. These were expected, at the end of their periods of indenture, to go off "as is customary ... to Pensilvania, Carelena, and other Northern Colonies where provisions are more plenty and weather more temperate." (C.O. 28:6.)


I can vouch for the validity of the "Alternate History of the Jamaican Flag".  My father, Rev. William R. F. McGhie was one of Alexander Bustamante's chaplains.  Sir Alexander called him 'Padre', and he talked with the Prime Minister often, both on the telephone and in person.  I say 'one of'' because Sir Alexander, who was an unabashed ambassador of Jamaica's Rum industry usually gave that title to many 'men of the cloth', whose advice he often sought after.  The first official release of the Jamaican flag (3 horizontal lines) was not well received at all by the Jamaican public, My father was only one of the citizenry calling for a design change, but he did indeed recommend to Sir Alexander that the redesigned flag should have a cross, signifying the history and influence of 'the church' in Jamaica's past.  Sir Alexander asked him to submit ideas for an alternate design.  I can clearly remember my father one morning in his study, tracing the St. Andrew Scottish national flag from an encyclopedia, and applying the existing colors of Green, Yellow and Black into the St. Andrew's cross motif.  I cannot remember if the colors in my father's design were placed in the exact positions as what became the official flag, but the design was certainly his.
John McGhie, 27 March 2005

William Ayers 1492 Christopher Columbus sails to the New World, William Eris (or Ayers), a man from Galway, is reportedly amongst the crew. He is said to be one of the forty volunteers left behind in Hispaniola and apparently killed by Indians after Columbus' departure.

1656 Over 60,000 Irish Catholics had been sent slaves to Barbados, and other islands in the Caribbean by Oliver Cromwell.

1672 Over 6,000 Irish boys and women sold as slaves since England gained control of Jamaica.


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Out Of Many Cultures: 
The People Who Came


Once in a while when driving through the parishes of St.Ann and Trelawny you come across low stone walls, where the stones look as if they fit almost seamlessly together ­ testament to Welsh artisanry. Other examples of Welsh craftsmanship include many of the slate roofs that covered Jamaican 18th & 19th century sugar works. (The slates used in schools were also most likely Welsh). There are Welsh placenames ­ Bangor Ridge (Portland), Cardiff Hall (St. Ann), Llandilo (Westmoreland), Llandovery (St. Ann), Pencarne (in St. Mary) once owned by the famous and infamous Welsh pirate/privateer-turned-Governor, Capt. Henry Morgan). Then there are the places named after him ­ Morgan's Bridge, Morgan's Pass, and Morgan's Valley in Clarendon.

Also in the 17th century, Jamaica had a parish named St. David (part of present-day St. Thomas) ­ perhaps after the patron saint of Wales, whose day is celebrated with daffodils and leeks every March 1 in Wales. Jamaican surnames of Welsh background include: Bryan, Davis, Davies, Jones, Meredith, Morgan, Owens, Rhys/Reece, Williams and Vaughan. At one point in the 1950s some suburban house names in Kingston included Abergavenny, Pontypridd and Llandudno ­ all names of Welsh towns.

The Welsh influence is also felt annually in Jamaica's National Festival Movement, likely patterned after the Eisteddfod, the Welsh annual summertime celebration of arts, culture and music (Senior, 2003, p.511).


The Scots arrived in two main waves ­ the first in 1655 when as prisoners of war they were sold as bond (indentured) servants to the English, and in 1745-46 after the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion. (Jacobites were supporters of James II's claim to the English throne). Others came in between ­ those seeking religious freedom, those from lower-socio-economic levels such as gypsies, criminals and idlers, who were rounded up and shipped off, as well as doctors and lawyers and others from the middle class who were simply in search of a quick fortune.

One of the most significant Scottish settlements occurred in1700 in St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, a year after the failure of an expedition to Darien, Panama. Colonel John Campbell, the first in a long line of Campbells (said to be one of Jamaica's most popular surnames) was a captain at Darien before settling in Jamaica, marrying well and becoming one of the island's gentry. By 1750 the Scots accounted for one-third of Jamaica's white population. Place names such as Culloden (the site of a famous Jacobite battle), Craigie and Aberdeen, reflect strong Scottish ties.

Scots, like the Germans and the Irish, were also encouraged to come to Jamaica in the 19th century following emancipation when the government attempted to establish rural villages/European townships and grow the white population. The Scots in particular were thought to be well-suited to life in the mountainous regions of Portland, but after a few years, many died as a result of illness. Those who survived melded in with Maroon life in Moore Town and Mill Bank.

Perhaps the most famous or infamous Scottish immigrant is Lewis Hutchison, better known as the Mad Master of Edinburgh Castle. Born in Scotland in 1733 where he is believed to have studied medicine for a while, he came to Jamaica in the 1760s to run an estate which was crowned by a house known as Edinburgh Castle. Not too long after Hutchison's arrival, cases of travellers disappearing without a trace began to mount in number and suspicions ran rampant but no one could ever have suspected the level of torture they experienced. Travellers would occasionally stop to rest at Edinburgh Castle, the only inhabited spot for miles on the way from St. Ann's Bay south, not knowing that they would become the target of Hutchison's unerring aim. Hutchison killed for sport, not money, as travellers of all shapes, sizes and income levels were equal game. Eventually apprehended, Hutchison insolently entered a plea of not guilty and was defended by one of the island's most esteemed lawyers. He was tried, found guilty and condemned to death by hanging in Spanish Town Square. The records of his trial stand in the National Archives.

Other, more positive, forms of Scottish influence can be found in Jamaican dance ­ the scotch reel ­ in Kingston's Scots Kirk Church, as well as in our language ­ as Scottish dialects mingled with English, African languages, German, Irish and Welsh among other influences, to produce Jamaican English (Senior, 2003, pp. 434-5).

SOURCES: Senior, O.(2003). The Encyclopedia of the Jamaican Heritage. Kingston ­ Twin Guinep Publishers, Sherlock, P.and Bennett, H. (1998). The Story of the Jamaican people. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers.

By Dr. Rebecca Tortello

"One Love': The Black Irish of Jamaica" by Rasrob Mullally (Read this article regarding the peoples of these two island nations...with kind suggestion by the author. ...MJD)  Some excerpts:

History of the Flag [Jamaica]

"The colours of the Jamaican flag were described at the time of it's origin as 'Black for the people'; Yellow for the Sun'; and 'Green representing the lush vegetation of the island'.I have some information which you may find useful - information which is certainly not well known. My father Rev William R.F. McGhie, was a Church of Scotland minister who in 1957 went out to Jamaica to work as a missionary. Both my parents were from Glasgow although we lived, at that time, in Stonehouse in Lanarkshire. Shortly before Jamaica got her independence from Great Britain the Jamaican Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante (who was a friend of my fathers) showed my father designs of the proposed Jamaican flag. It was to be a green, black and gold tri-colour (ie vertical stripes). My father commented that as a Christian country the flag should contain a cross to reflect that fact. My father then sketched the St Andrew's cross replacing the colours of the Scottish flag with the green, black and gold of the Jamaican flag as it is now. Sir Alexander Bustamante agreed that this would be better and the rest is history, as they say. Of course, not many people know this but I can guarantee this is the truth. 
John McGhie, 7 Febuary 2005