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Section V: Missions to the Americas

Part 1: West Indies, 1819-1861

These materials provide excellent evidence for the study of CMS activity in the Caribbean.  There are good personal accounts which highlight connections with West Africa and the slave trade.

  • CMS work in Anguilla, Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, British Guiana, Dominica, Honduras, Jamaica, Nevis, Trinidad, St Kitts and St Vincent is well documented.
  • In Antigua, through the leadership of William Dawes, the CMS was able to provide schools for the slaves on plantations.
  • These archives allow scholars to examine the fluctuating fortunes of the West Indies Mission and provide ample evidence on plantation life, local customs and traditions, education and culture.

Some interesting questions can be addressed:

  • What role did missionaries play as agents of empire?
  • What was the relationship between the Society and the Government?
  • What lasting benefits did CMS initiatives have for education in the West Indies?
  • Why was it impossible to finance further missionary activity at the end of the 1840s and into the 1850s?

“The richness of personal accounts of CMS missionaries brings us close to the lives of the enslaved and the colonised in the West Indies and are indispensable source materials.”
Professor Carl Campbell,
Department of History, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.

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Introduction to the Archive

Digital Guide

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