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Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4

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    [narrator] I'm a Glasgow boy,
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    I was born and bred in the city,
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    and of course I've been told all about the tobacco lords,
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    and about how the wealth of Glasgow was based on our trade with the colonies,
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    with the Caribbean, with the Americas.
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    But there's an awful lot more to our colonial experience than I ever knew,
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    and most Scots know,
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    and perhaps more than they want to know.
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    This is the beautiful west coast of Barbados,
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    an up market holiday resort which attracts hundreds of Scots every year.
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    They come of course for the beautiful sand, the palm trees the rum punches, and the sun.
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    Little do they know, however,
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    that 14 miles in that direction, the rugged east coast,
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    there's an entirely different kind of Scottish community,
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    a community of Sinclairs, of Baileys, of McCaskies,.
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    But these families will not be going home after a fortnight in the sun.
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    Heading inwards from the beaches and hotels,
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    a maze of little roads criss cross the flat, coral island.
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    Through the rural parishes of St. James and St. Thomas,
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    towards wild seas and the St. John coast.
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    The east of the island, from the Scottish district to Martin's Bay,
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    is rocky and unyielding,
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    but like our own Scotland, magnificent and dramatic.
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    This is the last stronghold of a people who once spread throughout Barbados.
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    People who -- if they only knew how-- could trace their ancestors
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    back to Ireland, the west country, and Scotland,
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    some even to Jacobites from Gaeltacht.
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    Do you know how your family first came to Barbados? [/narrator]
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    Really, I don't know.
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    All I know is some family arrived from Scotland, in those days.
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    Well, I born in Barbados,
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    My Scottish, maybe great great great great grandfathers, that's all they could tell you.
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    I understand that my father arrived,
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    his parents from Scotland,
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    what part of Scotland I don't know.
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    The Scots have been, in a sense,
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    you could say guilty of collective amnesia
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    over both our role in empire
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    and the role in the slaving system.
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    And it's up to us as historians
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    to reveal the Scottish past, warts and all.
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    And one of the areas that's now being revealed,
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    or is coming into greater significance,
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    is the role of the Scots in the Caribbean islands.
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    [narrator] When it was settled, Barbados was an uninhabited island in the distant Caribbean.
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    Barbadians themselves called it "Little England",
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    but in fact, the first people to make serious money here were Scots.
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    In 1627 King Charles I appointed a Scot, James Hay, as governor of Barbados.
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    Both men were determined to see a good return from their new colony. [/narrator]
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    Barbados was chosen because it's owned by the Hays,
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    a border family who become the Earls of Carlisle.
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    But to make an island like Barbados pay,
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    it's the first British island,
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    you have to have people to work the land.
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    The Hays desperately looked back to their own area, the borders of west coast Scotland
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    for this supply of labour.
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    And it is part of their business plan to encourage the movement of people onto the island.
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    [narrator] When we think of Scots leaving their homeland to make their fortunes
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    or at least ease their poverty,
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    and going to the Americas in the 18th century, the 19th century,
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    we think of Greenoch and Glasgow and Port Glasgow.
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    But in fact earlier, in the 17th century,
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    many Scots left from here, from Ayre,
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    and not necessarily because they wanted to. [/narrator]
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    I learned about the 1640's,
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    we had our first joint ventures to Barbados.
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    And the first one we know is the Rebecca of Dublin,
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    is brought up to Britannia Ayre,
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    on the Firth of Clyde.
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    Ayre is then the major conduit for the emerging Glasgow merchant paternity.
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    Controlled tightly by guilds,
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    and it's these guild brothers that set out the first ventures.
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    Well we know about this because it's also a plague year, 1642,
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    and they believe they're all going to die of the plague,
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    so they have a communal confession in St John's church, which still stands in Ayre.
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    And of over the 15 confessions they make,
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    most of them, you'd expect bad behaviour, drunkenness, whoring women all around the Caribbean,
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    it's #15 itself that's interesting.
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    They confessed to carrying away the children to the West Indies.
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    And this is the first mention of carrying indentured servants.
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    So basically they're clearing out the _
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    This is the start of the trade in people to Barbados.
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    [narrator] Scots who couldn't make a living at home
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    signed an indenture,
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    selling their labour to planters in the new world
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    for an agreed period,
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    at the end of which -if they survived-
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    they were promised a piece of land.
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    The indentures weren't worth the paper they were written on.
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    Was there really any difference then
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    between a white indentured servant and a black slave? [/narrator]
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    It didn't matter if you were an indentured servant or a slave,
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    if you were subjected to a severe whipping,
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    the whip cracked equally severely on a white man
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    just as it did on a black man.
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    They were treated equally horrifically,
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    and suffered equal horrific punishments.
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    But African slavery could be transferred from generation to generation.
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    If you were an African slave,
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    who'd been brought over to Barbados
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    and you had children,
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    your child would have been born into slavery.
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    If you were a white endentured servant
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    who had been condemned to servitude and you had children on the island,
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    they were born free.
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    So there is a marked legal distinction.
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    There is the concept of the "white negro",
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    and certainly, you know, in a legal sense they probably were slaves
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    because they were innumerated as part of the chattals,
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    in other words the property of the individual, ehm, who held their indentures.
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    So in that sense, you know, they were no different legally from black slaves.
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    [narrator] Despite Scotland being a rich source of indentured labour,
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    demand on the island outstripped supply.
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    But there was a solution.
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    War. [/narrator]
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    Things were taking a dramatic turn
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    when Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland at the Battle of Dunbar.
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    On one hand the Hays lose control of the island,
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    on the other hand, there's a new supply of labour,
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    prisoners of war.
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    The ultimate answer is to transport them,
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    and Barbados is where they're sent.
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    Here we are in Greyfriars Graveyard,
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    and this is really where it all happened.
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    This is the trigger zone for, eh,
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    which will ricochet all the way to Barbados,
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    because it's here that youre dissenting, eh, senior leaders
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    of the Scottish rebellion against the king, Charles 1,
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    come into this graveyard and sign a massive document called the National Covenant,
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    which binds them to resist Charles' ideas about imposing Episcopalianism,
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    the Church of England's style of bishops etc on Presbyterian Scotland,
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    and by doing so, we start this great conflict.
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    So you can really claim that the English Civil War was actually triggered from here,
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    and cascades down south, and to Ireland.
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    The monument we're walking towards now,
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    is possibly the most emotive part of that killing time,
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    before it goes on, and all these prisoners were sent off as slaves.
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    Barbado'd.
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    And here we have it.
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    Being Barbados'd was equivalent to being transported,
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    ehm, you've got to remember the fact that these were not idyllic islands in that period,
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    these were lethal areas with very high death rates,
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    especially for Europeans,
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    and especially through yellow fever.
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    [narrator] So this is where the covenanters were held before being shipped off. [/narrator]
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    Some were here for up to two years.
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    [narrator] So they're locked in here,
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    are they fed and watered and covered?[/narrator]
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    Barely, no cover.
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    They're not dying here, but the survivors were all marched off and sold,
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    some of them would have appeared in Barbados,
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    because the market was strong there.
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    [narrator] But therefore the people who are finally indentured and sent to the colonies,
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    arrive here in pretty bad state in the first place.
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    If they've been held out here for two years,
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    and after a war,
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    they're not arriving in Barbados really full of strength and very well fed. [/narrator]
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    I don't think they would have fetched much.
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    And knowing the state of vittles on both ships as I do,
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    I think most of them didn't made the passage to be honest.
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    A great tragedy.
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    [narrator] Transportees were shackled and kept below deck
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    in a voyage that lasted anything from 8 to 10 weeks.
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    Conditions were so bad that many of them died long before they reached the Caribbean.
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    There are no records of how traders treated their Scottish cargo,
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    but we do know what they would have faced on arrival,
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    thanks to the writings of visitors the island like Richard Ligon,
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    who published a true and exact history of the island of Barbados in 1657.
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    Professor Fred Smith, of William and Mary University on Virginia,
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    is on an archeological dig in Barbados.
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    Fred's students tried to imagine what life must have been like
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    for those early arrivals who had to build their own shelters.
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    Richard Ligon paints a vivid picture of those difficult days:
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    "Upon the arrival of any ship
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    the planters go aboard
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    and having bought such of them as they like,
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    send them with a guide to his plantation,
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    and being come, commands them instantly to make their cabins,
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    which they not knowing how to do,
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    are to be advised by other of their servants that are their seniors.
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    But if they be churlish and will not show them,
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    or if material be wanting to make them cabins,
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    then they are to lay on the ground that night.
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    These cabins are to be made of sticks with some plantain leaves,
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    under some little shade that may keep the rain off.
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    Their supper being a few potatoes and water and __ for drink,
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    the next day they are rung our with a bell to work at 6 o'clock in the morning,
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    til the bell ring again,
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    which is at 11 o'clock,
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    and then they return and are sent to dinner
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    and then they return and are set to dinner,
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    either with a mess of , , or potatoes."
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    Professor Carl Watson is a decendant of the first immigrants to Barbados,
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    and a leading historian of the island's poor whites.
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    Well history has two levels.
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    History seen from above, from the point of view of the powerful;
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    and history seen from below.
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    And usually those from below were either illiterate and hence left no written records
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    of their daily lives...
Title:
Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4
Description:

The west coast of Barbados is known as a favorite winter destination for British tourists, ranging from the upmarket Sandy Lane resort to the all-drinks-included package holiday crowd arriving by economy class. Many will come from Scotland, but few will realise that just fourteen miles away on the rocky east side of the island live a community of McCluskies, Sinclairs and Baileys who are not, as might be expected, black Bajans bearing the family names given by slave owners centuries ago, but poor whites eking out a subsistence existence. Known as the Redlegs, they are the direct descendants of the Scots transported to Barbados by Cromwell after the Civil War. Scottish author and broadcaster Chris Dolan went to meet them to discover why they are still here 350 years later, what they know about their roots, and what their prospects are today when they are the poorest community on the island. Chris speaks to leading historians in Barbados and Scotland about how their ancestors were treated when they first arrived. Was their plight as severe as that of the black slaves from Africa? Nearly two centuries after emancipation, this Redleg community has yet to find a role on the island, where it is damned by association with the days of slavery, even though many of its forbears were victims themselves. In recent years, it has begun to come out of its racial isolation; could there yet be a hopeful future for this lost Scottish tribe?

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
13:01
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 1 of 4
Radical Access Mapping Project added a translation

English subtitles

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