The History of Jamaica: Or, General Survey of the Antient and Modern State of That Island, with Reflections on Its Situation, Settlements, Inhabitants, Climate, Products, Commerce, Laws, and Government

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Edward Long's three-volume work marks a major turning point in the historiography of Jamaica, as the first attempt at a comprehensive description of the colony, its history, government, people, economy and geography. The son of a prominent Jamaican plantation owner, Long (1734-1813) spent twelve years running his father's property, an experience which permeates his vision of the island's past, present and future. Throughout his book, Long defends slavery as 'inevitably necessary' in Jamaica, suggesting the institution to be implicit in the 'possession of British freedom'. Volume 1 gives an overview of British colonial government in Jamaica, a history of the island's initial colonisation by Spain, and an account of the economy, including population and export figures and details of prices paid for slaves during the eighteenth century. This important 1774 book provides fascinating insights into eighteenth-century colonial Jamaica and the ideology of its commercial and administrative elite.