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Slave naming patterns : onomastics and the taxonomy of race in eighteenth-century Jamaica

By Trevor Burnard

Abstract

Every year, slave owners responsible for managing\ud estates were required by Jamaican law to submit to the local vestry\ud an account of the whites, slaves, and livestock on their properties.\ud Whites were listed by first name and surname; slaves were denoted\ud by first name, sometimes accompanied by a modifier referring to\ud age, occupation, or ethnicity; and stock were merely enumerated.\ud Thus, on July 3, 1782, Thomas Thistlewood, penkeeper and proprietor\ud of Breadnut Island Pen, rode to Savanna La Mar and\ud handed to his fellow vestrymen the names of his thirty-two slaves.\ud The list began with the first slave that he owned—an Ibo slave\ud called Lincoln—and ended with his most recent addition—\ud Nancy, the one-year-old daughter of Phoebe, a Coromantee slave\ud purchased in 1765. He also noted that he owned thirty unnamed\ud head of cattle

Topics: F1201
Publisher: MIT Press
Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:34563

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