Description

This King’s Topographical Collection map of Jamaica emphasises the island prospering under British rule. Jamaica became an English territory in 1655, when it was captured from the Spanish, and continued to be part of the British colonies for 300 years until it gained independence in 1962. Anglicised place names litter the map, marking parishes, ports, rivers and settlements. Renaming and redefining the landscape of Jamaica was one way for the British to assert their dominance over it. An inset map of Port-Royal Harbour is included at bottom left. This was the capital of Jamaica at the time, and centre of shipping commerce for the island. Powerful trading conglomerates used the port to move stocks in and out of the country. The estates where sugar cane was cultivated are seen throughout the map, identified via symbols on the key at top right. Indigo works, cotton fields, cacao plantations, cattle and pig pens are also shown. The map gives a false impression of peace and prosperity – Jamaica’s sugar economy was built on the brutal slave trade.

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