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Beyond kinship – Irish Caribbean studies

December 13, 2007

This is an excerpt from Orla Powers abstract of her recently published ‘Beyond Kinship -A Study of the Eighteenth-century Irish Community at Saint Croix, Danish West Indies’ in Irish Migration Studies in Latin America. The full article is available online here and makes for a fascinating read.

Abstract

The Irish trading post, and its associated sugar plantations on the Danish island of Saint Croix during the eighteenth century, is fascinating in that it reflects a cultural liaison unusual in the study of the early modern Irish diaspora. Although the absence of a common religion, language or culture was indicative of the changing nature of Caribbean society, the lack of a substantial ‘shared history’ between Ireland and Denmark encourages us to look beyond conventional notions of the organisation of Irish-Caribbean trade. The traditional model of the socially exclusive Irish mercantile network, reaching from Ireland, England, France and Spain to the Caribbean colonies and back to the British metropole, although applicable, does not entirely explain the phenomenon at Saint Croix. Instead, the migration of individuals of mixed social backgrounds from the British Leeward Islands to Saint Croix reflects the changing nature of the kinship network in response to the diversification of the Caribbean marketplace.

Power, Orla, ‘Beyond Kinship: A Study of the Eighteenth-century Irish Community at Saint Croix, Danish West Indies’ in “Irish Migration Studies in Latin America” 5:3 (November 2007), pp. 207-214.

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