Bermuda Naval Base: Management, Artisans and Enslaved Workers in the 1790s. The 1950s Bermudian Apprentices’ Heritage

By Ann Coats, published May 2009

Abstract

This article deals with the British Naval base in Bermuda during the 1790s, highlighting the rise in need of slave workers and young apprentices on the naval base after the rise of an independent America and the war of 1812. The emergence of rival navies and trade routes in the North Atlantic led to the Bermudan base being a hub of privateers, who would be allowed by Britain to ‘acquire’ “money, plate, or negroes’, leading to the high demand of artisans and seamen. The administrative management of the island began to require a ‘disciplined, diligent and docile’ workforce, thus the usage of slaves increased, these slaves were able to work for their freedom on the docks and proved a valuable asset to the administration of the base.

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Filed under: Atlantic | War of 1812 | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Harbours & Dockyards | Manpower & Life at Sea | Navies | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Shipbuilding & Design

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