The Richard Ligon Project

An E-text of Richard Ligon's History of Barbados (1657)

Ligon visited Barbados during the early years of the "sugar revolution"

Richard Ligon’s History of Barbados (1657) is one of the most important accounts of the Caribbean written in the seventeenth-century. Ligon visited the island during the early years of the "sugar revolution" when a boom in sugar growing led to the development of an extensive plantation economy that relied upon the labour of enslaved persons. His account describes the social structure and economy of Barbados during this pivotal period, and reveals his own values about politics, slavery and wealth.

This e-text, which is in the public domain, was created for use in teaching and for general reading, making this controversial text widely available to a modern audience.

For background information on the text, please read my article "Useful Knowledge, Improvement, and the Logic of Capital in Richard Ligon’s True and
Exact History of Barbados" in the Journal of the History of Ideas.

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Christina M. Giovas, George D. Kamenov, and  John Krigbaum on scientific evidence and the 1657 Ligon map of Barbados 

A facsimile of the 1673 edition of the History of Barbados can now be found here.

© copyright 2020 David Chan Smith