Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History

Specialization

Anthropology and Archaeology

Department

History

First Advisor

Rod Mather

Abstract

The following thesis confronts pre-existing histories of the English conquest of Jamaica which primarily write about it within either the Caribbean context or the more narrow European context. These prior histories tend to misinterpret the central causes of why Spain was unable to successfully dislodge the English between 1655 to 1660. Previous histories typically cite it as evidence for a broader Spanish or Habsburg decline. By reframing this conquest within a broader Atlantic context, which takes into account both the Caribbean and European perspectives, the reader will come to see why Jamaica was lost by the Spanish to the English. This was primarily because Iberian forces were heavily involved in European conflicts and thus unable to traverse the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Spanish Caribbean forces were instructed to, and primarily focused on, the defense of their ports and territories to ensure that the wealth of the ‘Indies’ made it safely to Spain proper. The thesis relies on primary source documents from both Spanish and English authors to show what the priorities of the Spanish were at the time and in doing so show that Jamaica was not one of those priorities.

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