Thomas Warner (explorer)
Sir Thomas Warner was an explorer and a captain. He is famous for settling on Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts Saint Kitts Saint Kitts (also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island (Saint-Christophe in French) is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean...

, the first English colony in the Caribbean in 1624.

Early life

Warner was born in Suffolk, England in 1580. He entered the army at an early age, and became a captain
Captain (OF-2)
The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery...

 in James I's
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 guards. He travelled to the Oyapoc
Oyapoc was a short-lived English settlement in Guyana), which was established in 1620 under Governor Roger North and abandoned in the same year. The British would only take over the whole region much later, after several Dutch colonies had existed in Guyana....

 Colony in 1620 in today's Guiana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

 and he was a captain under the command of Roger North
Roger North
Roger North may refer to:*Roger North, 2nd Baron North , English peer*Roger North , captain who sailed with Walter Raleigh in 1617 and only governor of the Oyapoc*Roger North , English lawyer and biographer...

. Another captain in the colony, Thomas Painton, then suggested that he should instead try to colonise one of the islands in the Lesser Antilles because of their favourable conditions. In 1623 Warner abandoned his Guiana post and set sail North through the archipelago.

Early settlement

After checking each island, Warner decided that Saint Kitts would prove to be the best-suited site for an English colony, because of its strategic central position ideal for expansion, friendly native population, fertile soil, abundant fresh water, and large salt deposits. He and his family landed on the island and made peace with the local Kalinago peoples, whose leader was Ouboutou Tegremante
Ouboutou Tegremante
Tegremante was the ouboutou or chief of his clan on St Kitts by the time Thomas Warner arrived by 1624. His village is suspected to be just above on Highland Old Road, where the settlers lived. It was located close to the sea and either on the banks of the Wingfield or East Rivers. They depended...

. Warner then left his family behind and returned to England to gather more men to officially establish a colony. He was supported by Ralph Merrifield, a merchant, who provided the capital & John Jefferson (the great-great-great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of U.S.A), who agreed to bring a second vessel with settlers and suppliers. He landed on St. Kitts on January 28, 1624 on the Hopewell and he established the colony of Saint Christopher, the first English colony in the Caribbean. They established a port town at Old Road, downhill from Tegremante's capital village.

French arrival and Civil war

In 1625, a French captain, Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc
Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc
thumb|220px|Pierre Belain d'EsnambucPierre Bélain, Sieur d'Esnambuc was a French trader and adventurer in the Caribbean, who established the first permanent French colony, Saint-Pierre, on the island of Martinique in 1635....

, arrived on the island. He had left France hoping to establish an island colony after hearing about the success of the English on Saint Kitts, but his fleet was destroyed by a run-in with the Spanish Armada, leaving him with only his flagship. Warner felt sorry for the French settlers and allowed them to settle on the island as well, thus making Saint Kitts the site of also the first French colony in the Caribbean. They lodged themselves in the ruins of the town of Dieppe, which they rebuilt. Warner also willingly accepted the French in an attempt to out-populate the local Kalinago, to whom he was growing suspicious.

Kalinago Genocide

Warner's suspicions proved to be accurate . As the European population on Saint Kitts continued to increase, Tegremante grew suspicious of the foreigners. In 1626, after a secret meeting with Kalinago heads from neighbouring Waitikubuli (Dominica
Dominica , officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of . The Commonwealth...

) and Oualie, it was decided that in a secret raid they would ambush the European settlements on the night of the next full moon. The secret plan was revealed to the Europeans however, by an Igneri woman named Barbe (Du Tertre 1667 I:5-6). Barbe had only recently been brought to St. Kitts as a slave-wife after a raid on an Arawak island. She despised the Kalinago and had fallen in love with Warner, and thus told him of the planned ambush. The English and French joined forces and made a surprise night-time attack on the Kittitian Caribs. According to Du Tertre (1667 I:6), between 100 and 120 Caribs were killed in their beds that night, with only the most beautiful Carib women spared death to serve as slaves. Having thus rid themselves of the local Caribs, the French and English set about fortifying the island against the expected invasion of Caribs from other islands. In the ensuing battle, three to four thousand Caribs allegedly took up arms against the Europeans. Du Tertre gives no precise information on the number of Caribs killed, but mentions that the fallen Amerindians on the beach were piled high into a mound. The English and French suffered at least 100 casualties (Du Tertre 1667 I:6). Others report that at a site now called Bloody Point
Bloody Point
Bloody Point is a headland in Trinity Parish, Saint Kitts. The Stone Fort or Bloody River runs towards Bloody Point. In 1626, English and French settlers killed most of the Carib population at Bloody point....

, which housed the island's main Kalinago settlement, over 2,000 Kalinago men were massacred, many of whom were from Waitikubuli, who had come overnight planning to attack the Europeans the day after. The many dead bodies were dumped in a river, on the site which housed the Kalinago place of worship. For weeks, blood flowed down the river like water, giving it its nickname, Bloody River
Bloody River
Bloody River or Stone Fort River is a river or ghaut in Saint Kitts which starts from the South East Range, flows west of the village of Challengers and exits at Bloody Point. Also, it is where 2000 Caribs were massacred and blood ran down the river for three days in 1626....

. The remaining Kalinago Indians were deported to Waitikubuli.

The entire tale of the Kalinago Genocide however, was told exclusively from the perspective and writings of the Europeans and modern scientists estimate that many of their claims were fraudulent or exaggerated in order to justify the killings. The time of year of the Kalinago Genocide for example (late January) was near the middle of the dry season, referred to by the Kalinago as the season of Bat man - due the abundance of bats at that time of year. Usually, raids on Taino and other Amerindians would take place at this time for sacrifices, etc., to appease Bat man to ensure that the dry season ends and that the wet season (season of Frog woman) begins. This would explain why so many Kalinago from various islands were present on St. Christopher at the time, as its Northern location on the borderline between Kalinago controlled and Taino controlled islands made it a base for such raids. Other evidence of wanton atrocity included the fact that the place of the massacre was deliberately the Kalinago place of worship, which would serve solely as a tool of fear for Kalinago from neighbouring islands.

After the Kalinago Genocide of 1626
Kalinago Genocide of 1626
The Kalinago Genocide of 1626 occurred in the West Indian island of St. Kitts at Bloody Point. The Caribs realized that many more Europeans would come and settle in St.Kitts. The Caribs decided that the European settlers had to be destroyed. Large numbers of Caribs from Dominica and other...

, the island was partitioned between the British and French, with the French gaining the ends, Capisterre in the North and Basseterre in the south, and the British gaining the centre. Both powers then proceeded the colonise neighbouring islands from their base. The English settled Nevis (1628), Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...

 (1632), Montserrat
Montserrat is a British overseas territory located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. This island measures approximately long and wide, giving of coastline...

 (1632). He was made Governor of St. Kitts, Nevis, Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

 and Montserrat in 1625. The French colonised Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

 (1635), the Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

 archipelago (1635), and St. Barths (1648). In 1643 he was made Parliamentary Governor of the Caribee Islands. It is said that he was also married to a Carib woman as a 'common-law marriage' The Carib woman was supposed to have given birth to many children and it was a lasting relationship. He died on March 10, 1649 in St.Kitts and he was buried in a tomb in Middle Island.

Slave trade

After the Kalinago Genocide of 1626
Kalinago Genocide of 1626
The Kalinago Genocide of 1626 occurred in the West Indian island of St. Kitts at Bloody Point. The Caribs realized that many more Europeans would come and settle in St.Kitts. The Caribs decided that the European settlers had to be destroyed. Large numbers of Caribs from Dominica and other...

 and the subsequent partitioning of the island Sir Thomas then shipped many thousands of Black African slaves. These slaves were then forced to work on the sugar and tobacco plantations. As the years passed Sir Thomas amassed a wealth in today's terms that would amount to over £100 million. Sir Thomas died on March 10, 1649 in St. Kitts and he was buried in a tomb in Middle Island.

External links

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