Author: James Ferguson

History, People

The great Chevalier | On this day

Born in Guadeloupe to a white plantation owner and an enslaved Senegalese mother, the life of Joseph Bologne — better known as “Chevalier” and the “Black Mozart” — was nothing short of extraordinary. On the 225th anniversary of his death, James Ferguson revisits the story of this remarkable conductor, composer, violinist, fencer, and soldier that history almost forgot

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History, United Kingdom

“One family, the wide world o’er” | On this day

A century ago, the United Kingdom staged a massive colonial exhibition, aimed at being a lavish demonstration of imperial grandeur, might, and “family unity”. But, writes James Ferguson, none of it would turn out quite as organisers hoped

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History, People, Haiti

For the ancestors | On this day

Some 100 years after becoming the world’s first free Black republic, Haiti remained without a national anthem. James Ferguson looks at the creation of “La Dessalinienne”

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History, Saba

The road that couldn’t be built | On this day

Daunted by Saba’s dramatic topography, Dutch colonial authorities deemed it impossible to build a road on the island. But, writes James Ferguson, islanders took matters into their own hands …

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Arts and Architecture, History, Trinidad and Tobago

A Cazabon mystery solved | On this day

James Ferguson uncovers the story behind an intriguing work by Michel-Jean Cazabon, Trinidad’s first great painter — with a little unexpected help from Caribbean Beat

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History, Haiti

The king of the republic | On this day

James Ferguson looks at the fascinating story of Sans Souci Palace — the pride of Haiti’s (short-lived) King Henry Christophe, inaugurated 210 years ago at the peak of his colourful, tragic reign

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History, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis

The Caribbean Cane and Abel | On this day

St Kitts, 1623: Thomas Warner establishes the first English colonial settlement in the Caribbean. His legacy of conflict would spill over into Antigua and Dominica — and to his sons. James Ferguson learns more

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History, United Kingdom, Guyana

John Edmonstone: from Guyana to the Galapagos | On this day

The science of taxidermy played an integral part in the formation of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. And it was John Edmonstone — born into slavery in Guyana before establishing himself as a well-respected free man in Scotland — who taught Darwin these critical skills. James Ferguson learns more about his story

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Funding provided by the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme Direct Support Grants Programme.
The views expressed on this website are those of the the authors and do not reflect those of the Direct Support Grants Programme.

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