Between 1760 and 1761, Great Britain witnessed one of the largest slave insurrections in the history of its empire. Although the revolt took place on the island of Jamaica, the reverberations of this revolt stretched across the Atlantic Ocean and into the British North American colonies.
Vincent Brown, the Charles Warren Professor of American History and a Professor of African American Studies at Harvard University, joins us to investigate Tacky’s Revolt and how that revolt served as an eddy within the larger current of Atlantic warfare, with details from his book, Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Vincent Brown, the Charles Warren Professor of American History and a Professor of African American Studies at Harvard University, joins us to investigateTacky’s Revolt and how that revolt served as an eddy in within the larger current of Atlantic warfare, with details from his book, Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War.
During our investigation, Vincent reveals why we need to understand the 18th-century politics, warfare, and slave trade of Africa to understand events within the broader 18th-century Atlantic World; Why Jamaica grew to become Great Britain’s most profitable colony and why its sugar plantations came to rely on enslaved labor; And, details about Tacky’s Revolt and the ways in which this revolt interconnected with four different Atlantic wars.
What You’ll Discover
- Happenings in Africa during the 1750s and 1760s
- Why so many enslaved people hailed from Africa’s West Coast
- The Coromantee peoples
- Seeing the slave trade through the lenses of war & diplomacy
- The slave trade and Europe
- What we gain by looking at the history of the Caribbean with an Atlantic lens
- Why Jamaica proved to be profitable colony
- Why sugar plantations relied on enslaved labor
- Jamaican society and culture by the 1760s
- Slavery as a form of war
- How the 1760-1761 Jamaica Revolt began in West Africa
- Logistics of staging a large slave revolt
- Tacky’s Revolt
- The Coromantee War and its ties with the Jamaica revolt
- Reverberations of the Coromantee War
- The market for rebellious enslaved people
- How news of the Jamaica insurgency spread
- How the Jamaican slave insurgency was part of four interconnected wars
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Vincent Brown
- Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War
- The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery
- Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death
- Olaudah Equiano
- Maria Alessandra Bollettino
- Julius Scott, The Common Wind
- The History Design Studio
Production of this episode was made possible by a grant from the Roller-Bottimore Foundation of Richmond, Virginia.
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Time Warp Question
In your opinion, what might have happened if Tacky’s Revolt and the larger Coromantee War had been successful? How might early American history and the practice of slavery in North America and the Caribbean have played out differently?
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