The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 40, Issue 2

Article 2
Health Conditions on Selected Plantations in Jamaica in the Early Nineteenth Century

Dave Gosse


Several Caribbean historians have concluded that European doctors of earlynineteenth- century Jamaica must be shown sympathy because they were victims, based on the nature of their medical training. Thus, they should not be held responsible for the enslaved Africans’ poor health. This study disagrees with such a view and will show that the improved health of the Jamaican enslaved population was never their priority. Most of these doctors were committed first and foremost to maintaining plantation culture, from which they benefited economically, socially and politically. Therefore, they were not different from the planter class.