The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 41, Issue 1 and 2

Article 1
Rock Hall, St Thomas: A Free Village in Barbados

Woodville Marshall


This article traces the formation and early history of a Barbadian village. It seeks to establish that the circumstances of the formation of the Rock Hall village qualifies it for designation as a free village; and it suggests that its existence (and others like it) demonstrates that Barbados, despite the comprehensiveness of the plantation system and a high man/land ratio, did experience, even if in a limited way, social developments that were more characteristic of Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and the Windward Islands. The article also suggests that post-slavery village formation in Barbados could not deliver on its promising political potential because the chronic land scarcity that confronted former enslaved persons ensured that many of the original village lots, which could have sustained independent farming activity, were soon subdivided to provide house-spots for family members.