No Limits to Their Sway
Cartagena's Privateers and the Masterless Caribbean in the Age of Revolutions
Most of Cartagena's privateers were people of color and descendants of slaves who benefited from the relative freedom and flexibility of life at sea, but also faced kidnapping, enslavement, and brutality. Many came from Haiti and Guadeloupe; some had been directly involved in the Haitian Revolution. While their manpower proved crucial in the early Anti-Spanish struggles, Afro-Caribbean privateers were also perceived as a threat, suspected of holding questionable loyalties, disorderly tendencies, and too strong a commitment to political and social privileges for people of color. Based on handwritten and printed sources in Spanish, English, and French, this book tells the story of Cartagena's multinational and multicultural seafarers, revealing the Trans-Atlantic and maritime dimensions of South American independence.