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Smugglers before the Swedish throne: Political activity of free people of color in early nineteenth-century St Barthélemy
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
Number of Authors: 12017 (English)In: Atlantic studies, ISSN 1478-8810, E-ISSN 1740-4649, Vol. 14, no 3, p. 318-335Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Swedish colony St Barthélemy, established in 1785 and under Swedish rule until 1878, was an attractive island for neutral transit trade and for a large number of free people of color, many of whom became naturalized Swedish subjects. As subjects under the Swedish crown, they sought political rights through petitions, stressing their place within the colonial system. Free people of color were also connected to the Greater Caribbean and the mobility of the free port allowed for inter-colonial networks. The Swedish Governor Johan Norderling compared the activity of free people of color in the Swedish colony with other colonies, as well as Haiti and the USA. For him, free people of color throughout the Caribbean were grouped as belonging to the same community. Thus, the examples of activity in other colonies exemplified the dangers of further political rights in the Swedish colony. He also used the Caribbean network to communicate with other French, Spanish, and Dutch governors about a revolutionary plot planned by free people of color. Yet despite being nodal points within a network for planning subversive plots, St Barthélemy was not a particularly radical space in terms of independence or antislavery, but rather a space facilitating subversive actions between empires.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 14, no 3, p. 318-335
Keywords [en]
St Barthélemy, free people of color, mobility, petitions, political rights, naturalization, free ports, Scandinavian colonialism
National Category
History and Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152609DOI: 10.1080/14788810.2017.1331064ISI: 000418707900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-152609DiVA, id: diva2:1180330
Available from: 2018-02-05 Created: 2018-02-05 Last updated: 2018-02-05Bibliographically approved

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