The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 49, Issue 1

Article 1
Jamaica Planter Women and the Challenges of Plantation Management

Aleric Josephs


This paper is a part of the continuing exploration of the strategies suggested since the 1980s for “engendering” the history of the Caribbean, or put differently,to center women historically. Using letters written in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it discusses the ownership of plantations by women in Jamaica at that time. It suggests that necessity rather than custom was the reason for women’s involvement in the administration and management of estates and that invariably they looked to men to facilitate their success in such endeavours, and in some cases abandoned the management to men when the chance arose. The paper posits that while their role as parents and the future security of their children were important factors in the managerial decisions they made, the women were into wealth accumulation and were quite proactive in the arrangements to safeguard their property.