The Sad History of the “Redlegs” of Barbados

The Sad History of the “Redlegs” of Barbados

Until April 23, you have the opportunity to view  the fascinating documentary of Barbados’ so-called Redlegs (click here), “Barbado’ed: Scotland’s Sugar Slaves,” by Chris Dolan. Or go  the Irish TV statiwww.tg4.tv, click on “documentaries” on the top of the screen, then “anamnocht” on the left side, then click on the arrow at the bottom of the screen until you see the 3-part video.

Also, Sheena Jolley who has done research on the Redlegs and photographed some of them in St. John in 2000 and 2008 has photos of them on her website http://sheenajolleyphotography.com/.  She is seen on the documentary.

I thank “BajanBeauty” for making me aware of this and providing these links. You only have until April 23, 2010: please view the documentary as soon as you can.  xx Jane (Below is my original post, which provides a bit of background):

I thought the lush, open ground in St John’s parish known as Little Scotland was so called because of its moist, green beauty.  Last night I discovered the sad truth behind the nickname.

"Little Scotland," Barbados

"Little Scotland," Barbados

The first slaves to work Barbados’ sugar cane plantations were Scottish, not African.  Mostly POWs from the 17th-century civil war in England, they were shipped to Barbados by Cromwell as “indentured servants,” although the terms of their servitude weren’t honored.

The Scots were ill-adapted to the Caribbean climate and treated as poorly as the Africans who came after.  Even after emancipation in 1854, they fared poorly, welcomed neither by White society nor Black.  Today, many of their ancestors, most of whom live in St John’s district, don’t know about their forebears. The poor don’t leave records; their identity is lost to history.

Until now.  Scottish author and broadcaster Chris Dolan is creating awareness through his documentary called “Barbado’ed: Scotland’s Sugar Slaves.”  He interviews direct descendants who live here on the island and discusses why, 350 years after their families first arrived, they still have no role on the island and remain isolated, eking out a subsistence living.

Romping along the posh platinum coastline of our beautiful country, you’d never guess.




112 Responses to “The Sad History of the “Redlegs” of Barbados”

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