Imágenes de página

Face of the Country, Soil, &c.] These islands are heaps of limestone and shells, covered with vegetable mould. The Keys are chiefly rocky and sandy : on some of them a few trees are found. All the large islands that front directly upon the Atlantic stretch from S. E. to N. W. and the ridge of each is in the same direction, The soil of all the islands is a thin but rich vegetable mould. It yields for a few years luxuriantiy, but is soon exhausted. The chief production is cotton.

Navigation.] 'Owing to the immense number of sand hanks, rocks, and breakers, every where dispersed over these Seas, the navigation is extremely dangerous, and thousands of vessels have been wrecked here. Vessels bound to New Orleans from the United States first make for the Hole in the Wall, the southern point of Abaco. Proceeding through the N. E. channel, they enter on the Great Bank S. of Berry islands, and leave it S. of the Cat Keys, whence they make for the Havana. Those bound to Jamaica pass to the leeward of Crooked' island, between it and the Great Bank, and leaving the Inaguas on the left make for the Windward channel between Cuba and Hispaniola.

Population and Occupations.] In 1803 the population consisted of 3,923 whiles and 11,395 blacks; in all, 14,318. The inhabitants are divided according to their occupations into two classes, residents and wreckers. The residents are chiefly loyalists and their descendants, who emigrated from Carolina and Georgia at the close of the American war. The wreckers are constantly employed in the business of rescuing shipwrecked ves. sels with their crews and cargoes from the waves. They sail in small flat bottomed sloops, just fitted for the seas which they navigate. They are excellent sailors, are familiar with all the Keys, shoals and breakers; and with alacrity and courage encounter any danger or hardship. They are licensed by the governor, and receive salvage on all property rescued from the waves. The number of these vessels is very great, 40 sail being someo times seen in one iolet. By day they are always cruising, ať night they usually put into the nearest harbor. Their great places of rendezvous are the Florida Gulf, the Hole in the. Wally and the Hogsties. The Hogsties are small keys, with reefs of rocks on each side in the form of a horse-shoe, which form a harbor, in lon. 74° W. about half way between Grand Inagua and South Crooked island.

[blocks in formation]

1. St. Thomas, about 12 leagues E. of Porto Rico, is 9 miles long and contains about 40 square miles. The soil is well water

ed and fruitful. The number of plantations is 74, of which 40 are devoted to the cultivation of sugar, and 34 to that of cotton. The population in 1815 was estimated at 5,050, of which number 550 were whites, 1500 free negroes and 3,000 slaves. St Thomas, the chief town, is on the S. E. side of the island, and has a safe and commodious port in which 200 ships can be accommodated.

2. St. Johns, 6 miles S. E. of St. Thomas, contains about 40 square miles. The soil produces sugar, coffee, tobacco and cotton. The population is 2430, of which number 180 are wbites, 50 mulattoes and 2200 negroes.

3. Santa Cruz or St. Croix lies south of St. Johns, and contains about 100 square miles. The soil is tolerably fruitful and is divided into 346 plantations. The principal productions are sugar and cotton. The population in 1813 was 31,387 of whom 2,223 were Danes, 1,164 mulattoes and free blacksand 28,000 slaves. Christianstadt, the chief town, and capital of all the Danish West India islands, is on the north coast. it has a harbor, a fort, 660 houses and 5,000 inhabitants.

The value of all the property, public and private, in the three Danish islands, is estimated at £5,014,440, viz. Santa Cruz £3,728,640; St. Thomas £747,800 ; and St. John £538,000.

4. Tortolu lies N. E. of St. Johns, and is 15 miles long by 6 broad. It is well cultivated, and is one of the healthiest islands in the West Indies. It has a large and safe harbor on the S. E. side. The productions are sugar and cotton. Population about 10,000. 5. Virgin Gorda is 8 miles E. of Tortola.

It is 15 miles long and produces sugar and cotton. The population is staled at 8,000. Anegada, the largest of its dependencies, is low and almost covered by water at high tides.

The five preceding islands are called The Virgin islands.

6. Anguilla or Snake island, so called from its winding tortuous figure, is about 30 miles long. It produces sugar, cotton, tobacco and maize, and has about 800 inhabitants. It belongs to the British.

7. St. Martin, 5 miles south of Anguilla, is 15 miles long and contains about 90 square miles. It produces sugar, cotton, and tobacco, but is principally valuable for its salt pits. The island was formerly divided between the Dutch and French, and afterwards between the Dutch and English, but it now belongs wholly to the king of the Netherlands. The population, amounting to 6,100, consists partly of Dutch and French, partly of mulattoes and negroes.

8. St. Bartholoinew is a small island, 15 miles S. E. of St. Martin, containing about 60 square miles. It was first settled by the French in 1643, but in 1785 was ceded to Sweden, to whom it still belongs. It produces sugar, cotton, cacao, tobacco and manioc, also iron wood, and lignum vitae. There is no lake or spring on the island. The inhabitants depend on the skies for water, which they keep in cisterns, and when they fail, it is procured from St.

Christopher. The shores are dangerous and cannot be approached without a good pilot. The only port is Le Carenage, on the west side, near which stands Gustavia the principal town. Gustavia is inbabited by Swedes, English, French, Americans and Jews. The planters are chiefly French. The population is about 8,000, two thirds of whom are negro slaves.

9. Saba, a small island, 12 miles in circumterence, lying 30 miles S.W. of St. Bartholomew, belongs to Netherlands, and is dependent on the neighboring island, St. Eustatius. It consists of a delighiful valley which produces the necessaries of life, and the materials for several manufactures, but being destitute of any port, its commerce is very inconsiderable. The sea is shallow and full of rocks for some distance from the coast, and none but small vessels can approach very near. The access to the interior of the island is by a difficult road cut out of the rock, by which only one person can ascend at a tiine. The population is estimated at 1,600.

10. Barbuda, belonging to the English, is 20 miles E. S. E. of St. Bartholomew, and is 21 miles long. The land is low lut fertile, and produces cntton, pepper, indigo, tobacco and especially cocoa trees, which are here extremely fine. There is no harbor, but a well sheltered road on the west side. It belongs to the Codrington family, by one of whom the revenue arising from this island, and from several other plantations, was bequeathed to the society for propagating the Gospel. The population is estimated at 1500.

11. St. Eustatius, 12 miles S. E. of Saha, and 9 N. W. of St. Christopher, is a huge rock rising out of the waves in the form of a pyramid, 29 miles in circumference. Sugar, cotton and maize are raised here, but the principal production is tobacco, which is cultivated on the sides of the pyramid to its very top. There is but one landing place, and that ihough difficult of access, is strongly fortified. The number of inhabitants is 20,000, of whom 5,000 are whites, chiefly Dutch, and 15,000 negroes. The isiand was taken by the English in 1801 but in 1814 was restored to the king of the Netherlands.

12. St. Christopher, called by sailors St. Kitts, is 9 miles S. E. of St. Eustatius, and contains 43,276 acres. or almost 70 square miles. The interior of the island consists of many rugged precipices and barren mountains. Mount Misery, the loftiest summit, rises 3,711 feet above the level of the sea. It is evidently a decayed volcano. Near the shore, the country is level and the soil extremely fertile, no part of the West Indies being so well suited to the production of sugar. Particular spots have been known to yield 5 hhds. of 16 cwt. each 10 the acre, and a whole plantation has yielded 4 hhds. to the acre. Of the 43,726 acres which the island contains, 17,000 are devoted to sugar, 4,000 to pasturage and perhaps 2 or 3,000 to cotton, indigo and provisions; the rest is opfit for cultivation. The population in 1794 was 25,000, of whom 4,000 were whites, and 21,000 negroes. Basseterre, the capital, is on the S.W. coast, at the mouth of a river

opening into a bay called Basseterre road. It contains 800 house. and is defended by three batteries. The island was formerly divided between the English and the French, but after much contention, the whole, in 1713, was finally ceded to the English, by whom it is still retained.

13. Nevis. This beautiful little spot is nothing more than a single mountain, rising like a cone in an easy ascent from the sea, 3 miles S. E. of St. Christopher. The circumference of its base does not exceed 24 miles. It is well watered and the land in general is fertile. About 8000 acres are devoted to the cultivation of sugar, and the annual crop is 4,000 hhds. The island was undoubtedly produced by a volcano, for there is a crater near the summit still visible. The population consists of about 1,000 whites and 10,000 negroes. Charlestown, the capital, is on the west side of the island, and is defended by a fort. The island belongs to Great Britain.

14. Antigua, 16 leagues E. of Nevis, and 18 E. by S. of St. Christopher, is 50 miles in circumference and contains 93 square miles or 59,338 acres, of which 34,000 are appropriated to sugar, a small part is unimprovable, and the rest is devoted to cotton, tobacco and pasture. The population in 1817 according to official returns was 35,739, of whom 2,102 were whites, 2,185 free blacks and people of color, and 31,452 slaves. St. Johns, the capital, is built on the west shore on an excellent harbor, the entrance to which is defended by a fort.

Antigua constitutes along with St. Christopher, Nevis, Montserrat, and those of the Virgin islands which belong to the English, a separate government. The governor, who is styled captain ger eral of the leeward Caribbean islands generally resides at Antigua, and occasionally visits the other islands.

15. Montserrat, 7 leagues' S. E. of Nevis and 8 S.W. by W. of Antigua, is 9 miles long, and contains about 30,000 acres or nearly 47 square miles, almost two thirds of which are mountainous or barren. Of the cultivated land, about 6,000 acres are appropriated to sugar, 2,000 to cotton, 2,000 to provisions, and 2,000 to pasturage. The population in 1805 was 10,750, of whom 1,009 were whites, 250 people of color, and 9,500 slaves.

16. Guadaloupe consists really of two islands nearly equal in size, divided by a short and narrow channel called the Salt river. That part of the island which lies N. E. of this channel is call. ed Grand Terre ; tbat on the S. W. Basse Terre. Tbe channel which separates them is more than 6 miles long, and in some places not more than 90 feet broad. It runs north and south, and communicates with the sea at each end by a large bay. Both divisions of the island are of volcanic origin, and covered with rug. ged mountains, particularly Basse Terre, in which the volcano La Souffriere or the brimstone mountain rises to a great height, and continually throws out thick black smoke mingled with fire. Basse Terre is much the most fertile part, being well supplied with water which fails in Grand Terre. The produce is the same with that of the other West India islands. In 1810 the ex

ports consisted of 12,700,437 lbs. of sugar, 1,331,387 gallons of rum and molasses, 2,661,726 lbs. of coffee, 112,203 lbs. of cotton, and 2.162 lbs, of cacao. The population, in 1812, according to an official return made to the British House of Commons, was 114,839, of whom 12.747 were whites, 94,329 slaves, and 7,764 free negroes. The island was originally settled by the French in 1635. It has been repeatedly taken by the English and ile last time in 1810; but in 1814 it was restored to France.

17. Deseada and Mariegalante are dependencies of Guadaloupe. Deseada is 12 miles long and 6 broad." It lies 12 miles N. E. of point Chateau the eastern extremity of Guadaloupe, and contains about 900 inhabitanis. Mariegdiante is of a circular form, 14 miles in diameter. It lies 15 miles S. of Guadaloupe is very fertile in sugar, coffee, cotton, &c. and contained in 1788, 12,385 in babitants, of whom 1,938 were whites, 226 people of color and 10,121 slaves.

18. Dominica lies 30 miles S. S. E. of Guadaloupe. It is 29 miles long, and contains 186,436 acres or 29., square miles. It has many high and rugged mountains, though it is interspersed with fertile valleys, and watered by upwards of 30 rivers. Several of the mountains coniain unextinguished volcanoes. Coffee is the great object of agriculture. In favorable years the island has produced 3,000,000 lbs. There are 200 plantations devoted to coffee and 50 to sugar. The population in 1805 consisted of 1,594 whites, 2,822 people of color, and 22,083 slaves; in all 26,499. The island belongs to the British.


1. Martinico lies 10 leagues S. S. E. of Dominica. It is 59 miles long from N. W. to S. E. and contains about 370 square miles. The island is very oneven and intersected in all parts by hillocks, which are chiefly of a conical form. Three mountains rise above these smaller eminences, one of which in the N. W. is obviously an extinguished volcano. The soil is generally very good and well watered. The principal productions are sugar, coffee, cassia, cotton, cacao, ginger, &c. The population in 1810, according to an official return, was 96,418, of whom 9,206 were whites, 8,630 free persons of color, and 78,577 slaves. Fort Royal, the capital, is on the west coast, on a large bay which forms one of the best harbors in the West Indies St. Pierre, also on the west coast, 15 miles N. W. of Fort Royal, is a port of entry and the most commercial town on the island. It contains about 2,000 houses and 12,000 inhabitants. The harbour is easy of access but onsafe in storms. Martinico was settled by the French in 1635. It has repeatedly fallen into the hands of the English, but bas ak ways been restored to France 10 whom it now belongs.

2. St. Lucia lies 9 leagues S. of Partinico. it is 32 miles Jong from N. to S. and contains 225 square miles. The country is hilly, the climate healthy, and the soil generally good, yielding

« AnteriorContinuar »