The Insular Colonies
Reorganization in the Bermudas.—Complaints by the settlers against the rule of the Somers Islands Company in the Bermudas had been common since its foundation. As time went on it became composed of men who had little interest in the colony. The settlers, on the other hand, grew in numbers and independence. Under the circumstances, in the general reorganization by the later Stuarts, the company was dissolved, and in 1679 the Bermudas became a crown colony.
Reorganization in the West Indies.—Down to 1671 the English Caribbean island possessions were all included in one government within the Carlisle grant. In that year they were separated into two governments, St. Kitts, Nevis. Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla and "all other the Leeward islands" to the north of French Guadeloupe were separated from Barbados and the Windward Islands, and erected into the government of the Leeward Islands, the islands to the south of Guadeloupe being formed into the government of the Windward Islands. The Leeward Islands were put under one governor-in-chief, each island being given a deputy governor, council, assembly, and courts. In 1689 the islands together were granted a general assembly, which first met in 1690.
New settlements in the West Indies.—During the period of the later Stuarts the Leeward Islands extended their influence among the smaller islands to the northwest In 1665 a buccaneering expedition from Jamaica captured St. Eustatius and Saba. In 1666 settlers from the Bermudas settled on New Providence, one of the Bahamas, and elected a governor. Four years later six of the Carolina proprietors secured a patent to the island but did little toward colonizing it. In 1672 Tortola was taken from the Dutch and added to the Leeward Islands.
Unrest in Barbados.—The first important movement to settle Carolina came from Barbados, the most populous of the English colonies. A spirit of unrest pervaded the island. During the Commonwealth it had been a refuge for both Cavaliers and Roundheads, and the newcomers had taken up lands without securing titles. When the Stuarts were restored, the former proprietors attempted to regain their possessions. A lively controversy ensued. The king settled it by establishing his authority in the island, but levied a tax of four and one-half per cent. on its products to be applied to satisfy in part the claims of the proprietors, an arrangement which pleased no one. The navigation acts also considerably interfered with the trade of the island which had previously been carried on largely with the Dutch. As a result many settlers were anxious to leave. Between 1643 and 1667 at least twelve hundred Barbadians went to fight or settle in Jamaica, Tobago, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Surinam, New England, Virginia, or Carolina.
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