Chapter

What is a West Indian?

Catherine Hall

in West Indian Intellectuals in Britain

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719064746
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700426 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719064746.003.0002
What is a West Indian?

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This chapter is concerned with the islands, and parts of the mainland, which were colonised by the British from the early seventeenth century and named as the British West Indies. The British West Indian colonies formed a link between North and South America and were strategically vital to the European powers. The task of the West India interest was to lobby the government and counter the abolitionists. The naming of black regiments as West Indian fractured the prevailing image of West Indian as signifying an exclusively white identity. Emancipation marked a critical break in ideas about the West Indian. James Anthony Froude's return to an insistence on white West Indians as ‘part of ourselves’ provides an endpoint to the preliminary charting of the shifting meanings of West Indian. Furthermore, the idea of West Indian is part of an older tradition of both colonial and anti-colonial thought.

Keywords: British West Indies; British West Indian; European powers; emancipation; government; abolitionists

Chapter.  9538 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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