Lionel Wafer stayed with the Kuna on the Isthmus of Darien in the late 17th century. The Body is naked of Leaves or Branches, but prickly. It is whitish Liquor of a pleasant tart Taste; and they drink it after it had been kept a Day or two. Wafer, , p. The palms in the Caribbean and the palmettos in Bermuda were, of course, different species from their West African cousins, but closely enough related that the people instantly recognized them and knew how to access the drink within. Zona, personal communication, June 18, , the same species of palm tapped by the Kuna of Panama.
It is worth noting, however, that extraction of palm wine is said to be an art, and any European practicing the skill would likely have had a firsthand education in it overseas. The methods at first practiced in Bermuda, of nondestructively tapping or slicing the stem just below the terminal bud, most closely resembles the tapping method for Borassus akeassii of West Central Africa.
The range for B. It has not been proven that the palmetto scars are, indeed from tapping, but this correlation supports the hypothesis. It is unclear whether this method was also practiced in Bermuda. By , they were practicing other methods, also akin to those known in Western Africa as well as in parts of the Americas. Now instead of just slicing or boring, whole trees were being felled, a well cut into the trunk and the seeping sap scooped out over a period of months.
This change in practice could indicate the 31 Interestingly, there are no records of Sabal palmetto used for wine, despite its close relationship with Sabal bermudana. In a small bag hung around his neck or arm he carries an auger to bore the tree, and a gourd or calabash a gourd or calabash to receive the wine. A hole is bored, about half an inch deep, below the crown of the tree, and into this is inserted a leaf rolled up like a funnel, the other end of it being put into the mouth of a calibash capable of containing several quarts, which is filled in the course of a single night.
The liquor is discharged more abundantly during the cooling of the night and morning than the heat of the day. About a quart of wine may thus be procured twice a day, over the space of a month, from each tree, without any injury to it, as it will yield the same quantity for many succeeding years. If, however, wine be taken from it for a longer time than about a month, the tree either dies, or requires a much longer respite to recover. When The palm wine has been drawn off, the hole is carefully filled up with mud, to prevent insects from depositing their eggs in it, the larvae of which would destroy the tree.
Upon the Kroo coast it is the custom to cut the tree down, and to burn or scorch the outside before they tap it, probably to excite a degree of fermentation. Palm wine, when fresh drawn, is sweet, remarkably cool and pleasant, and very much resembles whey in appearance, and somewhat in taste. In this state it is not in the least degree intoxicating; but after standing twenty-four hours it enters into the vinous fermentation, and becomes very inebriating, and on that account is preferred by the natives.
This seems particularly true when applied to spiritual practices involving palm wine, which appear to be shared among all those who live where the palm trees grow. Palms are one of the most widely used plants in the tropics — indeed, one of the most useful plant families in the world.
As stated earlier, the knowledge of how to use palms for a wide 51 range of daily needs was to serve the captives greatly, as they used their skills to help both themselves and the colonizers survive. But in the case of palm wine, traditional knowledge served enslaved people not only on the level of physical survival, but on the spiritual level as well.
When a plant is extremely useful to a people, it is generally assumed to have ritual or spiritual significance; it is more likely to feature in origin tales, stories, and lore. While cut off from ancestors and ancestral lands, they could still connect to a world beyond this one through familiar practices. One also comes across small well-built ancestral houses in which there is only one mug, into which one pours palm-wine that is sacrificed to the ancestors. Smith, Libations are prayers accompanied or punctuated by the pouring of alcohol, usually onto the ground.
He reflected that he had never really questioned why he did this or where the practice came from. In some cultures, the sense of power and meaning extended beyond the sap to the tree itself. The Wanaka of East Africa, for example, see a maternal spirit in the palm tree; nourishing people as a mother would her children. Wanton destruction of a palm tree is thus akin to matricide. Among the Ba-Ila of Zambia, a person could engage in a ritual to hide their life in a palm tree for protection. The person would only die if the palm fell, and as that was unlikely, they were destined to live a long life.
Interestingly, this is not unlike some of the covert forms of sympathetic magic practiced by Bermudians today with cedar trees. Cedars are planted to commemorate marriages or the birth of a child, and while it is not stated overtly, it is understood that as the tree grows strong and healthy, so will that marriage or that child. These are just a small sampling of traditions, indicating the importance of palm wine in some traditional African cultures. Of course, under the duress of slavery, separation from family and often from language, and at times already adapting to life in Hispanic-Caribbean and Anglo cultures, it is impossible to know which or how much of these traditions were practiced in early Bermuda.
Those stories and struggles were not written down; and they went largely unnoticed or disrespected by those recording history. And yet, as we see in the following section, hints of traditions can be gleaned, ironically, in the documents attempting to silence them. Early Bermudians quickly recognized the limits to their resources, and those in power made laws regarding how and by whom the limited resources could be used. While on the one hand such laws made perfect sense, scarcity being a driver of conservation movements everywhere, on the 53 other such laws could be seen as a way of extending both economic and social control over both people and plants on the island which was, after all, the order of the day.
The intent of the laws could thus be divided into three categories: the need to conserve palmettos for thatching, fencing, and household goods; the need to control consumption of alcohol on the island, both for religious and economic purposes; and the need to control the movements of enslaved people and all the ensuing racisim and cruelty that accompanied such gestures in order to maintain their economic value.
In July , council meeting records express concern over the uprooting of palmettos to make bibby. The stated reason for their concern was the need to keep a number of palmettos as natural fencing along property boundaries, and to preserve palmetto use for the tenants, likely for thatching, household goods, rope, and even bibby for themselves. And that no Bibbie shall be sould or exchanged by any person either for Tobaco corne Potatoe or any other provision whatsoever upon the paine and penaltie of one months imprisonment and 20 lb of Tobacco fine for everie time so offending.
This type of felling for palm wine is described from many parts of West Africa, because for conserving the sap it is best to dig around the roots of the tree to carefully uproot it rather than cutting it down. The laws were clearly ineffective. Twenty-three years later, in , the population of palmettos had continued to plummet. The intent seemed driven by the need for conservation. By , the July presentments of the grand inquest read as ever more urgent. The inquest pleads that the governing bodies: […] take interest into the grievous destruction of Palmeto trees for Bibby, which doubtless was at the first innocently done by them who would drink a cupp or the like, and then but of trees growing upon waste places, yet as tyme and experience brings things to perfections soe now not contented are they But they say the highest trees yield the sweetest Bibby so that none are safe and the best Trees are cut, But if this mischiefe be not timely arrested all of our trees wil be destroyed And as we say, at the first, cutting of Bibby was done but in moderation for to drink a cupp or the like: But now they have learned to destill it into aqua-vitae and so for to make more of it that they now cut Palmeto trees in all manner of places.
Idle negros in all parts of the island cutt most. And although all the Inhabitants knowe well of what great uses these palmetto trees are of in this plantation and that wee could not live without it, yet they not regarding posterity and aymeing at self end by making a pfitt [profit? And although this cutting of Bibby was foreseed by the last grand jury, And presented at the Assizes yet wee see no redress nor remedy thereof But rather increasing of their worke: Wee doe therefore desire and pray your worship and your council that some meanes may be found out to restrayne them so that if any shall presume hereafter to cut any palmetto trees only to distill into drinke unless they be trees either ready fallen or that they have a purpose to cleare them off to make use of the ground, be fyned and he or they that shall informe against shall have part of the fine.
Marthe Reed: from 'Ark Hive' (forthcoming), printed here as a memorial and tribute
Lefroy, 37 The growing of tobacco was tightly controlled and monitored so that people, in effect, could not grow their own money. People were now distilling bibby and using it for profit — not surprising in a day when the trade currency, tobacco, was only allowed to be cultivated by the designated few, and even then was foundering as a crop. Distilled palmetto wine was likely a welcome trade item, enabling people to acquire much-needed imported goods.
A further purpose for this law was likely to support the increasing trade in Caribbean rum; for while bibby could be procured for free, rum could be controlled for profit. By making laws against bibby and against the free sale of alcohol, and insisting that people needed licenses to sell, the financial profit offered by habits and addictions was secured. This court taking into consideracon the manifold mischiefes and euills that are occasioned and bred by vending and selling of strong Drinke in the Somer Islands in an vnlicensed and illimited manner, to the growth and increase of the Odious sinne of Drunkenness amongst the Inhabitants there, to the high dishonour there of Almightie God, the great scandall of Religion and the Gouernment of the said Islands, Doe thinke fit and order.
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Lefroy, By this time, all people of African and Afro-Caribbean descent were enslaved; it was extremely unlikely that they would have been able to acquire licenses, nor easily purchase alcohol from 38 The perception of drinking wine possibly held by many of the inhabitants of Bermuda and that of those writing the laws could not have been more different. The access to palm wine and therefore to a whole set of cultural practices and relationships to nature, spirit, fellow humans was being systematically undone. Between the s and s, Bermuda truly became a slave society.
In all free people of African descent were banished from the island, ensuring that skin colour was now synonymous with social standing. That same year there was a slave rebellion, and the need of those in charge to control those enslaved grew more acute Packwood, The punishment was severe: if caught off the land twice without permission of their owner, they would lose an ear.
Conservation of resources continued to be another major issue for the struggling colony. Lefroy, , p. The same appeal — to cease cutting and to replant was reasserted in Two years later, another penal order was declared against destroying any palmettos at all. The population of Bermuda was growing, and clearly the need for palmetto leaves was acute. Stone quarrying had not yet begun in Bermuda and all houses at this time were still 57 thatched. The last piece of legislation pertaining to bibby was from It is brief and to the point, yet illuminating: Upon the Grand Inquest presenting all such persons as shall willfully make waste of Palmetto by cutting them for Bibby or by unnecessary felling or firing them.
It indicates that despite continued legislation and punishment, early Bermudians persisted in making bibby from palmettos for at least 50 years. This speaks to the tenacity of culture a displaced colonial landscape. It is no wonder that the laws made in Bermuda were difficult to enforce — particularly when they pertained to cultural practices familiar to many of the new arrivals, such as the making of palm wine.
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In this last piece of legislation, we see a note about an additional way of procuring bibby with fire. It differs culturally from the tapping and even uprooting processes described in earlier documents, indicating, perhaps, an influx of people from these other areas. The story of bibby shows the loss of an ethnobotanical tradition due to several factors: the politics of carrying on a tradition, the constraints of limited natural resources, the pressures of a superimposed religion and new set of cultural values, the stripping of access to resources due to private property and access laws, and finally, the displacement of the traditional product with an imported one.
Over the course of decades, not only in Bermuda but in parts of the Caribbean and West Africa as well, imported rum from sugar plantations in the Caribbean soon fulfilled the needs — social, emotional, and spiritual — that palm wine had once met. By using imported drink rather than tapping it from a living tree, the relationship with the tree would eventually be forgotten. This is one of the many ways that ethnobotanical knowledge continues to be lost today. While I have been unable to find mention of bibby-making in recent texts, it is slightly possible it was made into the 20th century.
Note his use of the present tense. Indeed, Bermudians had a long tradition of spiced funeral wine, although the type of wine used has not been described: The custom of drinking a particular preparation of spiced wine at funerals held its ground in Bermuda to a very recent date. It was attended by many excesses, and a stand against it began to be made about It is now extinct, but a peculiar barrel-shaped vessel used for the purpose may be sometimes seen among 'old time' possessions of families. And if so, was it made of the sap or the fermented berries?
In his Botany of the Bermudas , H. Small mentions a drink made from fermented palmetto berries which I originally assumed was an error. However, Small was a resident of Bermuda in his later years, and Botany of the Bermudas includes many references to local plant uses that could only be known by someone who had spent time in local households see Appendix A. I spoke with several Bermudians who, if they had heard of bibby at all, thought it had been made from the berries. They were surprised when I mentioned the sap. Visitor accounts and guidebooks from this era report palmetto leaves being lit to guide tours in limestone caves Cooper, A palmetto torch was made by wrapping palm leaves around the long petiole of the plant.
The dry leaves are known to burn readily with a bright, clear flame. Torches were commonly used for night-fishing and turtling, a technique perhaps learned from or brought to Bermuda by indigenous people of the Caribbean Jarvis, But palmetto torches would have served multiple other purposes as well. With light, people can walk around at night; they can meet with people they may not have been able to meet with during the day; they can hold celebrations, funerals, and other nighttime ceremonies. They can also plan rebellions; or set fire to a house.
Just as the laws prohibiting the making of bibby were in part driven by the tightening grip of a slave society on the freedom of movement and independence of a group of people, so too were the presentments again torch-bearing a sign of the political times. By the mid s, a law was proposed to ban the use of palmetto torches at night: During this assize, it was also ordered, at the counsel table, that, whereas it had formerly bin a frequent practice to carry about in the night time palmitoe leaves, fired and flaming, to the much fear and danger of honest civil people, in firing their houses and grounds; that from thence forward the said ill custom should be absolutely left of, and that upon the penalty of one hundred pounds of tobacco, to be inflicted upon every master or a family or halver so offending; and that all hired servants, apprentices, and boys in the like case should be carried to the constable of the tribe and whipped.
This presentment tabled at the grand inquest in July elucidates further: 2 Whereas the Grand Inquest hath presented the unseasonablie walking in the night tyme with lighted leaves, to the endangering of the fireing of houses, Timber, fences, and Sugar Canes by Industrious Inhabitants planted. It hath bin thereupon unanimously ordered, That such Servants, Youths, Molattoes, Indians or Negroes as shall by night or dale presume to go with lighted leaves, or sticks of fire, in the highwaies or over mens grounds, shall be subject to be whipped upon 60 complaint or proofe, according to the discretion of the Councellor of the Tribe where the offence shall be committed.
And such Masters of Servants, Youths, Mollattoes, Indians or Negroes if they shall presume to uphold or suffer them to act as aforesaid are to forfeit Twentie Shillings Sterl, to be paid to the Sheriffe, or Councellor of the Tribe for publike uses. Lefroy, p. Certainly, fire was a great problem in homes in those days and many homes were lost. To what degree were these fires deliberately set? The date of the inquest falls squarely in the middle of at least two slave rebellions: and But they also might have been interested in meeting with each other, for any number of reasons.
Torch-burning was apparently not practiced by all Bermudians equally, and may have been more than a way to fish, make wine, or get around at night. It could have had a greater sub-cultural significance, perhaps connected to older African or European customs, many of which traditionally involved the burning of torches at night.
The use of fire in some traditional African funereal customs has already been mentioned. In Ghana, palm inflorescences are burned so that the smoke will drive away bad spirits, and leaves of the palm Raphia farinifera are burned as incense at the church. According to McCallan , dried palmetto tops were used for bonfires and homemade firecrackers especially on November 5th well into the 20th century.
What purposes had they served in earlier times? By controlling the burning of palmetto torches, what else was being controlled? We will never know all that happened when people walked these hills with torches. But what is certain is that by outlawing the practice there was one more piece of ethnobotanical knowledge, one more connection to earlier pre-colonial cultures, extinguished. The women who came from the Caribbean and Africa would have been very familiar with weaving palm leaves; many were highly skilled.
Writing around this time, European traders and missionaries in West Central Africa describe finely woven fabrics akin to silk made of palm Kopelson, in addition to exquisite basketry, bridal hats,41 and daily essentials. While palmetto was a new species for these women, using it would have provided no significant challenges. Likewise, many women who came to Bermuda from the British Isles would have been highly adept weavers with a wide range of plant fibres, but palm leaves would likely have been a new material for them.
During early settlement, local women from many backgrounds made hats, mats, brooms, brushes, fans, rope, beds, and other daily essentials from palmetto. But by the end of the first fifty years, life was so difficult, they turned to exporting their wares. So many cedars and palmettos had been cut that the fields were lacking windbreaks. A great influx of ants had taken over the island, and it was no longer possible to grow maize, the primary staple Verrill, Likewise, the cultivation of tobacco, never greatly successful, was even less profitable now.
Many Bermudians had once paid their rent and other debts with tobacco, but due to increased duties this was no longer an option Bernhard, In short, most people were hungry and poor. Compounding these issues was the fact that there were ever fewer men on the island. By the beginning of the s, there were 3 women for every man in 41 In Namibia, palm leaves are used in a ritual preparation of bridal hats among the Ovambo Gruca, Records in show that for every unmarried bachelor there were 9 unmarried women.
By , 20 out of 38 households in St. This gender disparity was due to a number of causes, primarily the sea. Even when non-enslaved women were married, they would see their husbands only occasionally and would run the household and conduct business on his behalf. Many men perished in shipwrecks and storms, while others met wives in ports, perhaps through extended family. Some have posited that when the gender ratio is so imbalanced, [heterosexual] men are less likely to settle down, preferring to opt for a lifetime of bachelorhood: rum, many women, and the sea Crane, Then as today, Bermudian women were extremely capable and independent; they travelled between the islands in small boats, and they were frugal, hard-working, and resourceful.
And by the late s, amidst the failure of crops, high import prices, and starvation, they needed to find a way to survive on an island with limited resources and a tremendous dependence on the outside world. They found their answer in plait. The newly grown leaves that grow up from the heart of the plant are first split into their natural sections, and then along the mid-vein into long, even strips with the narrow side strips and mid-vein put aside Figure Up to 15 strips are then plaited, or braided, into a number of patterns.
The wide tapes of plait can then be placed alongside each other and, overlapping slightly, sewn into various products such as coiled hats, purses, and baskets Figure Nell Johnston, who learned how to weave as a child in Bermuda in the s, reports that the leaves should first be dipped in saltwater to maintain their colour and strength when dried. In the late 19th century, Jones describes one way of processing leaves in detail. It is prepared in the following manner.
The young leaves are tied about their centre to prevent them being torn into strips by the wind. When these leaves are fit to use, i. When sufficiently dry they are smoked 63 with burnt brimstone in casks to render them white. When ready for use they are cut into strips and different forms of plait made according to taste. Jones, , p.
Bermuda is fortunate that, as a hub of trade and travel, details such as these were recorded and are available to residents today. In the late 16th century, a few decades before Bermuda was settled, plaiting had been brought to in England as potential employment for impoverished villagers. The story goes that in , Mary Queen of Scots travelled to Lorraine, France, where she noted women and children engaged in plaiting straw for hats.
The art was so simple a handicraft that children could participate with ease. Wherever people were thus employed, noted the Queen, they seemed to be doing better than in other areas. She brought some plaiters with her back to Scotland in hopes that the craft provide supplementary industry to agricultural areas. She did not accomplish her plan, but her son James I picked it up and in transferred plaiters to Bedfordshire where there was easy availability of straw44 Strickland, Plaiting schools were soon established throughout the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire counties.
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In , the English government tried to pass a bill encouraging the wearing of woolen hats, possibly to support the felt hat industry in northern England. Thousands of straw plaiters marched in protest. Over 14, people in the Luton and Dunstable areas alone were already making a living solely through straw hats Tansley, By the early s, during the reign of Queen Anne, straw hats had become a fashion trend among women in the court; wealthy women strove to dress like 43 English seven-straw flat plait rhyme Luton, It is possible that some of the early 17th century Scottish and English settlers were already accomplished straw45 plaiters when they arrived in Bermuda and adapted this skill to the palmetto.
Likewise, it is possible that African-Hispanic-Caribbean Bermudians were already intimately familiar with plaiting and weaving hats and other objects from palm. Tracing the exact origins of this artform in Bermuda and elsewhere is beyond the scope of this paper, but a cursory glance reveals that such plaiting with palm is considered traditional — at least today — in many parts of the world, particularly around the Atlantic Basin. It is possible that, just like in Bermuda today, these traditions date back only hundreds, rather than thousands of years. But it is still worth noting a few groups who practice a similar type of weave: the Houma people, an indigenous group in Louisiana, and the Pequot46 from the east coast of North America.
Weaving palms into plaits is also known in the mountains of Portugal. In Mallorca, the art of such palm weaving, identical in style, is called Obra de llatra. Tall plaited hats of straw or palm covered in flowers are part of the traditional female ceremonial dress of the Extremadura region of Spain, a region that flourished and played an integral role in 15th and 16th century Spanish colonial activities in the Americas.
But perhaps the most elaborate type of palm plaiting practiced today can be seen in the work from Elche, Spain, a city on the east coast of the Iberian peninsula with a long history of all things palm. In and around Elche is a famous palmeral, presently a plantation of over , date palm trees Phoenix dactylifera L. At various points in history, it was likely valued for its dates, sugar, wine, paper, and weaving materials. By the 13th century after a Christian take-over, some palm leaves were repurposed to make sculptures in celebration of Palm Sunday. The sculptures made today are tall, highly ornate, and elaborate artefacts.
Looking closely at the 45 Straw was an inclusive term that was extended to palm and palmetto when it arrived in England and America. It is therefore not possible in early histories to distinguish hats made of wheat straw from those made from imported Bermuda palmetto.
Bermuda has generally been left out of the many histories of straw hats, and there are numerous examples of hats and bonnets in American and English museums. None of these are attributed to Bermudians. The palmeral of Elche is a UN World Heritage Site, in part because of how it shows a repurposing of an area or resource. Whether plaiting came to Bermuda by one channel or by many, Bermudian women quickly adapted their skills to appeal to the English and American markets. Instead of the practical hats and materials already in production, they began weaving very fine and elaborate plaiting patterns and exporting coils of unsewn plait as well as sewn hats and bonnets to America, the Caribbean, and England.
Hayward, Queen Anne, and fishpots As early as , Bermudians were famous for their weaving. The following piece, written that year by John Lawson, lends insight into their widespread reputation for palmetto industry. We took up our Lodging this 66 Night with the Bermudian; our Entertainment was very indifferent, there being no fresh Water to be had on the Island. Lawson, , p 7 From the s onward, all manner of palmetto products were exported from Bermuda, including rope, brooms, and baskets.
Even whole palmetto tops — unprocessed leaves cut from a tree, thereby killing it — were sent to New England so that women there could make similar products for themselves. Note that the laws that had been put into place in the s forbidding the export of palmetto leaves to keep them available for thatching were then lifted less than a century later, the need being so acute and the thatching being replaced by stone!
In , 31 Bermudian ships exported 60 dozen palmetto hats and brooms to the Caribbean, and 70 fine cedar chairs and chests Jarvis, Some of the chairs may have had palmetto seatwork an adaptation from an Asian style that usually uses sedges. By , however, the export of palmetto plait was so lucrative that the Bermuda government passed a law forbidding the export of leaves and other products made from them Jarvis, While export to the Caribbean and America was successful, it was initially difficult for Bermuda to break into the English market, and the English straw weavers were protective of their monopoly.
According to Bermuda lore, however, one woman made a hat so beautiful that it won the favour of Queen Anne and the ladies in her court. Martha Hayward nee Carter ? Hayward lived in Carter House on St. Hayward when she died on May 19, On Tuesday died Mrs. Martha Hayward of St.
She retained her faculties to the last, had been a regular liver, and knew very little sickness until a few days previous to her death. She had a most extraordinary memory, could remember every remarkable event during her life, and relate it with great correctness.
In some years before she was 70 she wore spectacles, but after that time her sight came perfectly to her, and she could read the smallest print without ever since. She desired to live longer, but when she understood her dissolution was drawing near, she resigned her mortal life without a groan.
She plated palmetto hats for a living, some of which have been lately sent to England, as a curiosity [ An alternative and less-told 47 Carter House still stands as a small historical museum, featuring palmetto weaving and other early arts and knowledge of native Bermudians. Perhaps, however, it was Mrs. Hayward who made it. Before devising ways to split wheat-straw for weaving, the English experienced difficulty with the weight of their straw hats. This would have been particularly problematic as the hats were commonly laden with flowers, fruit, beads, and other accouterments.
Bermudian palmetto plait provided a very strong and light-weight alternative to straw. It is unknown what Mrs.
One possibility is that she used a special type of weave that the English had never seen before: a weave commonly found in palm products, but not in those of wheat, and one designed to be strong even in great widths and spans. This brings us to another ingenious ethnobotanical adaptation that Bermudians made to their social-ecological circumstances — applying traditional skills to novel needs: the fishpot weave. So help me, Fishpot. It is an open weave of trihexagonal tiling, with strands crossing each other in such a way as to create strength and allow a lot of air or water to pass through.
Chevron or arrowhead shaped traps Figure 27; Figure 28 were common both in Bermuda, as were Z- or S- shaped traps Slack-Smith, , such as the lobster pot on display at the Carter House Museum Figure I found no record of this style of fishpot made in pre-Columbian Americas or the Caribbean. Then I happened upon an image of the very same fishpots as those in Bermuda on a postcard from Lake Victoria, Kenya from the early s. The design of Caribbean and Bermudian fishpots, it seems, could have originated in Southeastern Africa!
I began searching for images of fishpots from the surrounding area, and found that fishpots of this style are still made both on the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts, including on the island of Zanzibar and further east in the Seychelles, Indonesia, and the Philippines Figure While the design is different, the same type of weave is found in Chinese and Japanese fish and shrimp baskets, and even in traditional prawn traps in British Columbia. The islands of Madagascar, Zanzibar, and this whole coast has a rich, very culturally-diverse history as a hub of maritime activity for millennia.
The historical traffic of people between Southeast Africa and the parts of Asia, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, explains, perhaps, the similar design of fishpot used in these nations as well. The presence of the fishpots in Bermuda highlights the fact that many enslaved people, in early British colonies in Virginia, Barbados, Jamaica, and Bermuda, came from Southeast Africa and Madagascar. This is supported by recent DNA tests of people on St. The presence of the fishpot weave perhaps lends cultural, tangible evidence to this history. History generally has it that enslaved people who were brought to Bermuda came from West Central Africa, primarily Angola.
In order for the fishpot style to have spread around the Caribbean, however, I reasoned that it must have arrived early and then been passed on through successive generations of people born on the islands. Many small British ships were coming and going during the ss; 69 trading directly and also intercepting Muscati ships Barendse, ; Jarvis, ; McDonald, Remarkable coincidences sometimes happen when you're ready for them. One week ago I took a break from writing about Charleston to go browsing for books, and I saw a new calendar for sale, one that illustrates each month with a sepia-toned photograph from History.
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