The British like to pretend that slavery is a sordid chapter in human history whose cross we Americans must alone bear. The truth is they were complicit in its enterprise. British aristocracy became enamored by the West Indies. They enlisted and financed ships to come to these islands amongst which we now sail. Their directive was to procure the coveted tea and spices that are abundant here. English and American schoolchildren hear of slave ships bringing the scourge of slavery to the American south, but little about the routes many British ships made before embarking on their transatlantic passage to the Caribbean. These ships would first head south, where they would capture, enslave and transport, in horrific conditions, the people of West Africa. These people would be put to work on the sugar plantations and in the tea and spice fields of places like Antigua, and serve their indentured lives under feudal lords, many of them Dutch, in plantations such as Bettys Hope.
|archeological remnants of the slave quarters at Bettys Hope Plantation|
The conditions were so horrid so that many slaves chose to run away and cast themselves into the nightmarish, crashing waters off a small outpost on the northeast corner of Antigua, rather than further endure their plight. This place has come to be known as the Devil’s Bridge. If you listen closely, the air blown through the holes in the rocks by the water sounds like screams. It is truly one of the most haunting, and most reverent, places of our journey.
See the torrent that is Devils Bridge: https://youtu.be/bUExHC9lNq8
Julianne from Antigua May 2017