Advertisement

Finding the Spaces Betwixt and Between: GIS of the 1733 St. Jan Slave Rebellion

  • Holly Kathryn NortonEmail author
Article

Abstract

The 1733 St. Jan Slave Rebellion in the Danish West Indies was an ephemeral event, from an archaeological perspective. Lasting only eight months and diffused across the 52-km2 island, the rebellion lacks a traditional archaeological signature even from battlefield methodologies. However, it is useful to apply archaeological questions to topics that are difficult to approach through dirt and shovel. This paper will discuss the application of spatial history/digital humanities methods to analyze the slave rebellion from multiple temporal vantage points, including social conditions leading up to the rebellion, and how creative uses of spatializing textual data may allow researchers to gain new insights into difficult-to-see past people such as enslaved freedom fighters.

Keywords

Spatial history Digital humanities GIS Slave rebellion Caribbean St. Jan 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks first and foremost to Alanna Warner and Sarah Platt for organizing the 2017 SHA session Beyond (between, within, through) the Grid: The Contours of Mapping and GIS in Archaeology, and then their subsequent labors on this edited volume. All of the GIS data refresh for this article was accomplished with the tremendous assistance of Holly McKee-Huth, Geographic Information Systems expert at History Colorado. Her knowledge of the theory and architecture behind ArcMAP was invaluable, as were her ideas and insights into GIS applications. I am also indebted to Lindsay Johansson and the reviewers for their comments and suggestions. I especially want to thank Siobhan Hart for suggesting the title of this article. I sincerely hope I have done all the comments justice. All errors, omissions, and erroneous hypotheses are my own.

References

  1. Anderson, J. (1975). Night of the Silent Drums. Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, D. V. (2003) Creole Transformation from Slavery to Freedom: Historical Archaeology of the East End Community, St. John, Virgin Islands. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.Google Scholar
  3. Armstrong, D.V. (2008) Maps, Matricals, and Material Remains: An Archaeological GIS of Late-Eighteenth Century Historic Sites on St. John, Danish West Indies. In Reid, Basil (ed) Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from the Caribbean, Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press, pp 99–126.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, Jr., R. A., Bolender, D. J., Brown, J. A., and Earle, T. K. (2007). Eventful archaeology: the place of space in structural transformation. Current Anthropology48(6): 833–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolender, D. J. (2010). Introduction: toward an Eventful Archaeology. In Bolender, D. J. (ed.), Eventful Archaeologies: New Approaches to Social Transformation in the Archaeological Record. State University of New York Press, Albany, pp. 3–16.Google Scholar
  6. Bollwerk, E. (2015). From cultural complexes to complex social topography: A history of spatial approaches to native cultural landscapes in the middle Atlantic. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology25(2): 1–14.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, V. (2015). Mapping a slave revolt: visualizing spatial history through the archives of slavery. Social Text33(4): 134–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Caron, A. and Highfield, A. (1981) The French Intervention in the St. John Slave Revolt of 1733-34. Bureau of Libraries, Museums and Archaeological Services, Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs, St. John, VI.Google Scholar
  9. Casella, E. C. (2010). Landscapes of punishment and resistance: a female convict settlement in Tasmania, Australia. In Mrozowski, S. and Preucel, R. (eds.), The New Pragmatism, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 93–103.Google Scholar
  10. Delle, J. (1998). An Archaeology of Social Space: Analyzing Coffee Plantations in Jamaica's Blue Mountains. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Dempsey, C. (2012) Maps as art. GIS Lounge. www.gislounge.com/map-as-asrt/ Accessed September 2018.
  12. Evans, T. and Daly, P. (eds.) (2006). Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  13. Fitts, R. (1996). Landscapes of northern bondage. Historical Archaeology30(2): 54–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fog Olwig, K. (1985) Cultural Adaptation and Resistance on St. John: Three Centuries of Afro-Caribbean Life. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.Google Scholar
  15. Governors Order Book, Amalie, C., and Thomas, S. (1733). Anderson, Stevens, and Pishko, Private Collection, St. John, United States Virgin Islands.Google Scholar
  16. Gregory, I. (2003). A Place in History: A Guide to Using GIS in Historical Research. Oxbow Books, Oxford.Google Scholar
  17. Hicks, D. (2007) "The Garden of the World": An Historical Archaeology of Sugar Landscapes in the Eastern Caribean. ArcheoPress, Oxford.Google Scholar
  18. Horvath, E. (1991) Archaeological Investigations Conducted at Lind Point, Mary Point, Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands National Park. National Park Service, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  19. Ingold, T. (1993). The temporality of landscape. World Archaeology25(2): 152–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ingold, T. (2011). Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. Taylor and Francis, London.Google Scholar
  21. Kellar, E. (2004) The Construction and Expression of Identity: An Archaeological Investigation of the Laborer Villages at Adrian Estate, St. John, USVI, Doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.Google Scholar
  22. Knight, D. (2010). A timeline of the establishment of the town of Cruz Bay. St. John. St. John Historical Society9(2).Google Scholar
  23. Knowles, A. K., Westerveld, L., and Strom, L. (2015). Inductive visualization: a humanistic alternative to GIS. GeoHumanities1(2): 233–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Landlisters, St. Jan (1728) Rigsarkivet, det Vestindisk-Guineiske Kompagni. Box Number 44. National Archives, Copenhagen, DK.Google Scholar
  25. Landlisters, St. Jan (1730-1733) Anderson, Stevens, and Pishko: Private Collection. Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI.Google Scholar
  26. Lenik, S. (2011). Mission plantations, space, and social control: Jesuits as planters in French Caribbean colonies and frontires. Journal of Social Archaeology12(1): 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Llobera, M. (2006). What you see is what you get?: visualscapes, visual genesis and hierarchy. In Evans, T. and Daly, P. (eds.), Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory. Routledge, London, pp. 148–167.Google Scholar
  28. Lock, G. and Pouncett, J. (2017). Spatial thinking in archaeology: is GIS the answer? Journal of Archaeological Science84: 129–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Longueville, C.D. (1734[1994]) Letter on the St. John Slave Rebellion. In Tyson, G. and Highfield, A (eds.) The Kamina Folk: Slavery and Slave Life in the Danish West Indies, Virgin Islands Humanity Council, Charlotte Amalie, pp. 25–28.Google Scholar
  30. Mikecz, J. (2017). Peering beyond the Imperial gaze: using digital tools to construct a spatial history of conquest. International Journal of Humanities and Computing11(1): 39–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Murrieta-Flores, P. and Gregory, I. (2015). Further Frontiers in GIS: extending spatial analysis to textual sources in archaeology. Open Archaeology1: 166–175.Google Scholar
  32. Norton, H. K. (2013) Estate by Estate: The Landscape of the 1733 St. Jan Slave Rebellion. Doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.Google Scholar
  33. Norton, H. K. (2015). The 1733 St. Jan Rebellion and the establishment of a Danish St. Croix. In Delle, J. (ed.), The Limits of Tyranny: Archaeological Perspectives on the Struggle against New World Slavery. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, pp. 35–65.Google Scholar
  34. Norton, H. K. and Espenshade, C. (2007). The challenge of locating maroon refuge sites at maroon ridge. St. Croix. Journal of Caribbean Archaeology7: 1–17.Google Scholar
  35. Norton, H. K., Espenshade, C., Catts, W., and Pishko, C. (2011) Phase II Archaeological Research, Planned Improvements to the Manager's Villa, Caneel Bay Resort, St. John, US Virgin Islands. On File with the USVI State Historic Preservation Office, St. John.Google Scholar
  36. Roberts, L. (2016). Deep mapping and spatial anthropology. Humanities5(5): 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Scott, J. C. (1990). Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Trascripts. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  38. Secret Privy Council (1733–34). Secret Privy Council Correspondence, St. Jan. Anderson, Stevens and Pishko: Private Collection. Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI.Google Scholar
  39. Shafie, T., Schoch, D., Mans, J., Hofman, C., and Brandes, U. (2017). Hypergraph reprsentations: a study of Carib attacks on colonial forces (1509-1700). Journal of Historical Network Research1: 52–70.Google Scholar
  40. Singleton, T. (2001). Slavery and spatial dialectics on Cuban coffee plantations. World Archaeology33(1): 98–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Solis, C. (2004) Phase II Testing and Evaluation, Bellevue Archaeological Site, Estate Bellevue, St. John, US Virgin Islands. On file with USVI State Historic Preservation Office, St. John.Google Scholar
  42. Taylor, J., Donaldson, C., Gregory, I., and Butler, J. (eds.) (2018). Mapping digitally, mapping deep: exploring digital literary geographies. Literary Geographies4(1): 1–136.Google Scholar
  43. Wheaton, T. (2000) A Phase I Archaeological Survey of Parcels No. 488D, 488E, and 488F, Chocolate Hole, St. John, USVI. On file with the USVI State Hisoric Preservation Office, St. John.Google Scholar
  44. Wild, K. and Reaves, R. (1986) Archaeological Investigations Conducted Along the North Shore Road, St. John, US Virgin Islands. National Park Service, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  45. Wild, K., Horvath, E., Potter, D., and Repp, A. (1991) 1987-89 Archaeological Investigations Conducted along the North Shore Road, St. John, US Virgin Islands. National Park Service, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  46. Yentsch, A. (1996) Introduction: close attention to place–landscape studies by historical archaeologists. In Yamin, R. and Metheny K. (eds.) Landscape Archaeology, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, pp xxiii-xlii.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History ColoradoDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations