An Irish Surgeon in Barbados and Demerara: Vexation, Misery and Opportunity
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Irish-born John Crawford MD spent three decades in the Caribbean from the 1770s, first in Barbados as naval surgeon and then as Chief Surgeon of the Dutch Colony of Demerara. Crawford instigated two medical charities in Barbados and was an enthusiastic member of the transnational “republic of medicine.” His Caribbean career provides insights into the Irish experience of empire and into the British empire itself. Through Crawford, we see the interconnectedness of European powers and the shifting allegiances at play in the revolutionary Caribbean, as well as the effort required to forge a career at the edge of empire.