The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 43, Issue 1

Article 3
Harnessing a Critical Resource: Black West Indian Migration to Puerto Rico during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Victor C. Simpson


Caribbean societies have been referred to as “immigrant societies” and their populations are, to a large extent, the result of immigration. Intra-Caribbean migration (including across linguistic lines) represents an important feature of the historical development of the region. Some of this migration was spawned by the international political environment, including the anti-slavery struggles as well as the hegemonic rivalries among European powers in the Caribbean. While much has been written about the migration of West Indian people to other Hispanic areas, less attention seems to have been paid to similar migration to Puerto Rico. This paper will focus on Black migration from the non-Hispanic Caribbean to Puerto Rico, demonstrating how migration was used by “those who sent”, “those who went” and “those who received” to accomplish their personal,
political and economic goals.