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The Natural, Moral, and Political History of Jamaica, and the Territories thereon Depending

From the First Discovery of the Island by Christopher Columbus to the Year 1746
James Knight. Edited by Jack P. Greene

BUY Cloth · 760 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813945569 · $65.00 · May 2021
BUY Ebook · 760 pp. · ISBN 9780813945576 · $49.00 · May 2021

Between 1737 and 1746, James Knight—a merchant, planter, and sometime Crown official and legislator in Jamaica—wrote a massive two-volume history of the island. The first volume provided a narrative of the colony’s development up to the mid-1740s, while the second offered a broad survey of most aspects of Jamaican life as it had developed by the third and fourth decades of the eighteenth century. Completed not long before his death in the winter of 1746–47 and held in the British Library, this work is now published for the first time. Well researched and intelligently critical, Knight’s work is not only the most comprehensive account of Jamaica’s ninety years as an English colony ever written; it is also one of the best representations of the provincial mentality as it had emerged in colonial British America between the founding of Virginia and 1750. Expertly edited and introduced by renowned scholar Jack Greene, this volume represents a colonial Caribbean history unique in its contemporary perspective, detail, and scope.


It is a pity more is not known about Knight, but he clearly knew Jamaica well and, as Jack Greene shows, undertook prodigious research. The Natural, Moral, and Political History of Jamaica is an unrivaled and compelling study.

Philip D. Morgan, Johns Hopkins University, coeditor of Early North America in Global Perspective

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