The History and the State of Jamaica under Lord Vaughan


The History and the State of Jamaica under Lord Vaughan is a 71-page, handwritten report that chronicles events in Jamaica under John Vaughan, Earl of Carbery (circa 1639–1713; known as Lord Vaughan), governor of Jamaica 1674–78, and under his successor, Charles Howard, Earl of Carlisle (1629–85). The report covers the geography, geology, and climate of Jamaica; its demographics, including native peoples, free men, indentured servants, and slaves; trade; the British army stationed on the island; government institutions and the salaries of officials; and the history of the Spanish discovery of the island and its later conquest by the British. The author is not conclusively known, but the text most likely was compiled for official use around the time of the Earl of Carlisle’s arrival in Jamaica in 1678, when the Privy Council in London, intent on monitoring and maintaining British control, was enquiring into the affairs of Jamaica. This would have been done for William Blathwayt (circa 1649–1717), a royal official who was then secretary of state and commissioner for the Lords of Trade and Plantations. The report contains numerous corrections and comments by Blathwayt, as well as alterations by the commission of the Earl of Carlisle. The manuscript is an important source for the early history and constitutional and political evolution of Jamaica.

Last updated: March 12, 2012