Digital Grainger

An Online Edition of The Sugar-Cane (1764)

Glossary

This glossary contains definitions of key historical individuals, places, and plants mentioned in The Sugar-Cane. We include much of the same information in our footnotes to the poem, but it may be useful for the reader to see Grainger’s reference points grouped together in this way. Grainger mentioned a wide range of peoples, places, and plants, and he also mentioned many mythological or fictional characters and locations. We did not include the latter in our lists, although it would be an interesting project to compare mythological and fictional references to historical ones. It also would be interesting to think about what kinds of individuals, places, and plants get mentioned: Are there patterns in what Grainger references in the poem? What is left out of his references?


Historical Individuals

  • Acosta (1539-1600). José de Acosta, a Jesuit theologian, philosopher, and missionary who traveled to and spent several years in Peru and Mexico. Chiefly known for his Historia natural y moral de las Indias (1590), one of the earliest and most comprehensive surveys of the Americas.

  • Apicius (1st century CE). Marcus Gavius Apicius, a gourmet who lived during the reign of Tiberius (14-37 CE). He exhausted his fortune on feasts and committed suicide rather than economize. His name has been used for several Roman connoisseurs of luxury.

  • Arrian (86-160 CE). Lucius Flavius Arrianus, author of various short essays and histories, including Bithyniaca, Parthica, and what is known as Affairs of Alexander.

  • Aurelius (121-80 CE). Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 CE. He was known both for his military campaigns against the Germanic tribes and for his philosophical Meditations.

  • Cabot, Sebastian (c. 1481/2-1557). Venetian navigator and cartographer who explored the North Atlantic and traveled down the northeastern coast of North America, perhaps as far south as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 1508-1509. He also led an expedition in 1526 that was supposed to reach Asia but went no further than Brazil. Cabot’s place of birth is unclear. Although generally acknowledged as Venice, it might also have been Bristol (late in life, Cabot himself claimed to have been born in Bristol).

  • Celsus (14-37 CE). Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a Roman medical writer and the author of the encyclopedia entitled Arte, of which eight books, De medicina, deal with various medical topics from Greek medicine to first-century medical theory.

  • Ceres’ son. Grainger’s epithet for Jethro Tull (1674-1741), an English agricultural innovator and writer who was known for authoring the work Horse-Hoeing Husbandry (1731).

  • Charles II (1630-1685). King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Son of Charles I (1600-1649) and brother of James II (1633-1701). He became king after the rule of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660.

  • Chaucer, Geoffrey (1340-1400). The author of The Canterbury Tales. Gilmore notes that Chaucer uses sugar twice in The Canterbury Tales and again in Troilus and Criseyde.

  • Codrington, Christopher (1668-1710). A member of the wealthy Codrington family, which owned sugar plantations in Antigua and Barbados and leased land in Barbuda. Born in Barbados, Codrington served as deputy-governor of Barbados and governor-general of the Leeward Islands. At his death in 1710, he bequeathed his Barbados plantations and a share of the island of Barbuda to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), an Anglican missionary organization that aimed to convert colonial inhabitants, including enslaved and free Africans, to Christianity. In 1745, the SPG opened Codrington College, which initially served only white colonists.

  • Columbus, Christopher (1451-1506). Genoese-born explorer. The purpose of his famed 1492 voyage was to discover a western route to Asia. He set sight on the island of Guanahani (in the Bahamas) on October 12. Columbus completed four voyages to the Americas during his lifetime.

  • Cromwell, Oliver (1599-1658). Lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1653-1658). One of the leaders of the English Civil War and a signatory to Charles I’s death warrant. In 1655, he launched what was known as the Western Design with the intention of dislodging Spanish power in the Caribbean and establishing an English presence there. English forces first tried to conquer Hispaniola and failed, but they did succeed in expelling the Spanish from Jamaica in 1655. Cromwell died in 1658, and his remains were exhumed in 1661, at which time he was posthumously “executed.”

  • Curtius, Q. (1st century CE). Quintus Curtius Rufus, a Roman historian and the author of Histories of Alexander the Great.

  • De la Condamine (1701-1774). Charles-Marie de La Condamine, a French scientist who participated with Ulloa in a geodesic mission to the equator in Peru to measure the earth’s true shape. After the mission was completed, La Condamine published the Relation abrégée d’un voyage fait dans l’intérieur de l’Amérique méridionale (1745) and Journal du voyage fait par ordre du roi a l’équateur (1751).

  • Depoinci (1584-1660). General Philippe de Lonvilliers, chevalier de Poincy, governor of the French Antilles from 1647 to 1660.

  • Durante (1529-1590). Castore Durante da Gualdo, botanist and physician to the Popes Gregory XIII and Sixtus V. Author of Herbaria nuovo (1585) and Il tesoro della sanità (1586).

  • Dyer, John (1699-1757). Welsh painter, poet, and author of the georgic poem The Fleece (1757), which Grainger reviewed in the Monthly Review (April 1757).

  • Earl of Carlisle (c. 1580-1636). James Hay, the first earl of Carlisle, a Scottish courtier and diplomat who came to the English court with James I. In 1627, he obtained a grant from Charles I for all of the Caribbean islands ranging from Barbados to St. Kitts.

  • Earl of Marlborough (1550–1629). James Ley, the first earl of Marlborough, an English judge, politician, and rival to the earl of Carlisle for the English Caribbean islands.

  • Edwards, George (1694-1773). English artist, ornithologist, and author of A Natural History of Uncommon Birds (1743-1751).

  • Ferdinand the Catholic (1452-1516). King Ferdinand V of Castile and León and II of Aragon was the husband of Queen Isabella of Castille and, with Isabella, the patron of Columbus’ 1492 voyage.

  • Gallic Lewis (1638-1715). Louis XIV, king of France from 1643-1715.

  • George III (1738-1820). King of Britain from 1760 to 1820.

  • Henry VII (1457-1509). The first Tudor king of England. He succeeded Richard III, ending the Wars of the Roses, and was himself followed by his son, Henry VIII.

  • Hesiod (c. 700 BCE). The poet Hesiod was from the Greek village of Ascra in the Valley of the Muses on the eastern slope of Mt. Helicon. He was a contemporary of Homer and known for the Theogony and Works and Days, which is considered to have influenced Virgil’s Georgics.

  • Homer (8th-century BCE). Greek poet and author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

  • Johnson, Samuel (1709-1784). One of the most important English writers of the eighteenth century. His works include a Dictionary (1755) of the English language, Rasselas (1759), A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland (1775), and The Lives of the Poets (1779-1781). Johnson also was a prolific essayist, publishing a series of 208 essays entitled The Rambler (1750-1752).

  • Jones, Inigo (1573-1652). English architect and theatre designer.

  • K. William (1650-1702). William III, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland and prince of Orange. With his wife, Mary II of England, he ascended to the throne after the abdication of James II at the end of the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689).

  • King James (1633-1701). James II of England and Ireland and James VII of Scotland, the son of Charles I. James II became king of England after the death of his brother, Charles II. He was the last Roman Catholic king of England and abdicated in 1688 during the Glorious Revolution.

  • Labat, Jean Baptiste (1663-1738). A French missionary of the Dominican order, Labat served as a priest and procurator in Martinique and Guadaloupe. He liberated the island of Martinique from British control in 1703. Later, he served as a professor of philosophy and mathematics in Nancy, France, and authored the Nouveau voyage aux isles de l’Amerique (1722).

  • Lennox, Charlotte (1730/1731?-1804). British writer best known for the novel The Female Quixote, or, The Adventures of Arabella (1752).

  • Lewis, William (bap. 1708-d. 1781). English physician and experimental chemist. Author of Chemical Works of Caspar Neumann, M.D. (1759).

  • Linnaeus (1707-1778). Carolus Linnaeus or Carl von Linné, a Swedish naturalist who laid the foundations for modern taxonomy or the systematic classification of living organisms. He also established a system for naming organisms known as binomial nomenclature.

  • Lucan (39-65 CE). Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, the nephew of Seneca the younger and the author of the epic poem De Bello Civili (On the Civil War, also known as the Pharsalia).

  • Manilius (1st century CE). Marcus Manilius, a Roman Stoic poet who authored the Astronomica, a didactic astrological poem with religious, philosophical, and political themes.

  • Martin, Samuel (1694/5-1776). An Antiguan-born British plantation owner and author of Essay upon Plantership, which was first published in Antigua around 1750 and then in several more editions before the end of the eighteenth century. The Essay contains Martin’s recommendations for plantation management and covers topics ranging from the planting and harvesting of cane to the regulation of enslaved labor.

  • Martinus (1572-1630). According to Gilmore, Matthias Martinius authored the Lexicon Philologicum (1623).

  • Mathew, Daniel (1718-1777). Cousin of Grainger’s wife; owned an estate in Saint Mary’s parish on the eastern shore of St. Kitts.

  • Maupertuis (1698-1759). Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, a French mathematician, biologist, and astronomer who led an expedition to northern Finland to measure the length of a degree along the meridian.

  • Melvil (1723-1809). Robert Melville, Scottish army officer and colonial governor. Like Grainger, he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh before joining the British army and fighting in the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). During the Seven Years’ War, he fought in the Caribbean, becoming temporary governor of Guadeloupe after defeating the French and then governor of Grenada, Tobago, Dominica, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines in 1764. He was also the founder of the St. Vincent botanic garden, which became a major scientific research station later in the eighteenth century.

  • Milton, John (1606-1674). English poet and polemicist. Milton was especially known for Paradise Lost (1667) and Samson Agonistes (1671).

  • Mithridates (132-63 BCE). King of Pontus in modern-day Turkey from 120-63 BCE. His attempts to expand his empire led to three wars against the Roman army. Following a mutiny by his troops, he committed suicide.

  • Modyford, Thomas (c. 1620-1679). A baronet and planter, whom Grainger explains to have lived in Barbardos before he moved to Jamaica in 1660, where served as governor from 1664 to 1669.

  • Newman (1683-1737). Caspar Neumann, a German chemist.

  • Ogilvy (1600-1676). John Ogilby, Scottish publisher and geographer. He authored America: being the latest, and most accurate description of the New World (1671).

  • Palladio, Andrea (1508-1580). Italian architect.

  • Pasqua (fl. 1651-1656). Pasqua Rosée was born in Sicily and relocated from Smyrna (now a city in Turkey) to London in 1651. He opened the first coffeehouse in London and was instrumental in popularizing coffee in England.

  • Percy, Thomas (1729-1811). Bishop Thomas Percy was an English cleric, writer, and translator. Grainger’s friend and frequent correspondent, he was best known for the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), published by James and Richard Dodsley, who also published The Sugar-Cane.

  • Philips, John (1676-1709). English poet and author of the georgic poem Cyder (1708).

  • Pineda (1607-1680). Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñá, author of Cautiverio feliz y razón individual de las guerras dilatadas del reino de Chile (finished 1672).

  • Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE). Gaius Plinius Secondus, author of Naturalis Historia.

  • Pompey (106-48 BCE). Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, a member of the First Triumvirate. He defeated Mithridates, King of Pontus, and established military order in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire.

  • Q. Anne (1665-1714). Anne Stuart, Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702-1714), who succeeded her brother-in-law William III.

  • Raleigh, Walter (1554-1618). An English courtier during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, as well as an explorer and author who obtained a patent for and helped to organize the expeditions to Roanoke in 1585 and 1587. He is sometimes credited with introducing tobacco to England. In 1595 he set out for South America, exploring the Orinoco River in present-day Venezuela, and again in 1617 to search for the famed city of El Dorado. He was executed for treason in 1618. He is the author of Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana (1596).

  • Ray, John (1627-1705). English naturalist and botanist. Author of Historia plantarum (1686-1704), a three-volume encyclopedia of plants cataloging 18,600 species.

  • Romney (1712-1793). According to Gilmore, refers to Robert Marsham, 2nd Baron Romney, who married Priscilla Pym, the heiress of the St. Kitts planter Charles Pym.

  • Shenstone, William (1714-1763). English poet and a famed innovator of landscape gardening, which he practiced on his estate, The Leasowes.

  • Shirley, Sir Anthony (1565-1635?). Count Sherley, an English adventurer and diplomat who led ill-fated expeditions against the Portuguese in Cape Verde and against the Spanish in Jamaica. He later went to Persia to engineer an alliance against the Turks.

  • Sloane, Hans (1660-1753). An Irish physician, naturalist, and collector, Sloane traveled to Jamaica in 1687 with Christopher Monck, second duke of Albemarle and newly appointed governor of Jamaica. During his stay in Jamaica, Sloane amassed an extensive collection of natural specimens, including plants, that later served as the basis for his natural history, A voyage to the islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica (1707, 1725). Sloane also succeeded Isaac Newton as president of the Royal Society in 1727. Upon his death, he bequeathed his extensive collections, which he had made considerable additions to after returning from Jamaica, to the British nation. These served as the founding collections of the British Museum, the British Library, and the Natural History Museum in London.

  • Smart, Christopher (1722-1771). English poet and author of The Hop-Garden (1752).

  • Somerville, William (1675-1742). Somerville, whose name Grainger also spells as Sommerville, was an English poet and the author of The Chace (1735).

  • Stork (1731-1803). Anton von Störck, a physician from Vienna known for his research on poisonous plants.

  • Strabo (64 BCE-21 CE). Greek geographer and historian whose Geography outlined the countries and peoples of the Greco-Roman world under the reign of Augustus (27 BCE-14 CE).

  • Templeman, Thomas (d. 1729). Author of A New Survey of the Globe: Or, an Accurate Mensuration of all the…Countries…in the World (1729).

  • Theodorus. May be the Samian architect active c. 550–520 BCE.

  • Thevenot (1633-1667). Jean de Thévenot traveled to Egypt, Arabia, Persia, and India. His five-volume Voyages was published in 1689.

  • Thomas, George (c. 1694-1774). Thomas was born to a planter family on the island of Antigua. Descended on his mother’s side from Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop, he was a member of the Antiguan colonial assembly before he became governor of Pennsylvania (1738-1747). He was governor of the Leeward Islands from 1753 to 1766.

  • Townshend, George (1724-1807). The first Marquess Townshend, an English politician and caricaturist who also had a distinguished military career, serving as second in command to Major-General James Wolfe in Canada during the Seven Years’ War and then as overall commander after Wolfe’s death during the campaign to take French-held Quebec, which surrendered to British forces in 1759.

  • Tournefort (1656-1708). Joseph Pitton de Tournefort was a French physician, botanist, and the author of Éléments de botanique (1694).

  • Trapham, Thomas (d. 1692?). Author of A Discourse of the State of Health in the Island of Jamaica (1679).

  • Tyrtaeus (c. mid-7th century BCE). A Spartan poet who wrote about the Second Messenian War and exhorted Spartans to fight to the death for their city.

  • Ulloa (1716-1795). Antonio de Ulloa y de la Torre-Giral, a colonel and naval officer of the Spanish navy, as well as an explorer and scientist. He participated in a geodesic mission to the equator in Peru to measure the earth’s true shape. After the mission was completed, Ulloa co-authored with Jorge Juan the Relación histórica del viage a la América meridional (1748).

  • Virgil (70-19 BCE). Publius Vergilius Maro, anglicized as Virgil, authored the Eclogues, the Aeneid, and the Georgics, the last of which was a major influence on all neo-georgic poets of the eighteenth century. He was born in the Italian provice of Mantua, and thus Grainger refers to him as the “Mantuan Bard.”

  • Vitruvius (1st century BCE). Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect.

  • Waller, Edmund (1606-1687). English poet, politician, and the author of “The Battle of the Summer Islands” (1645), a mock-heroic set in Bermuda.

  • Warner, Thomas (c.1580-1649). English settler and colonial governor. He was in Guiana from 1620 to 1622 before returning to England. In 1624, he settled in St. Kitts, where he established tobacco plantations and formed an alliance with the French against the Caribs. He was named Governor of St. Kitts for life by the Earl of Carlisle in 1629.

  • White (d. 1811?). James White, a Scottish writer who authored a translation of Aristophanes’ The Clouds (1759) and a grammatical text entitled The English Verb (1761).

  • Wolfe, James (1727-1759). English army officer. Like Grainger, he served in the Netherlands during the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and during the Scottish Jacobite Rising of 1745. Appointed Major-General in North America in 1758, Wolfe is perhaps best known for defeating French general Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon, marquis de Montcalm, and the French army on the Plains of Abraham outside of Quebec city in September 1759. Wolfe was fatally wounded during the battle, but his victory brought an end to the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763).

  • Wren, Christopher (1632-1723). English architect, mathematician, and astronomer.

  • Xantippe (5th–4th century BCE). Also Xanthippe. Wife of Socrates, often described as bad tempered.


Places

  • AEtna. Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano, located in Sicily.

  • Albion. A name of ancient Celtic origin for Britain or England. The term may also derive from the Latin word for white (albus) and refer to the white cliffs of Dover.

  • Anguilla. A British overseas territory and the most northerly of the Leeward Islands.

  • Annan. River in Dumfries and Galloway, a unitary council area in southern Scotland near the border with England. During the 1332 Battle of Annan at the outset of the Second War of Scottish Independence (1332-1357), Sir Archibald Douglas attacked Edward Balliol and his army at Annan. Escaping just before being captured, Balliol is said to have fled naked to England.

  • Antilles. The term Antilles refers to the islands of the Caribbean and is often used as a substitute for West Indies. The Greater Antilles are the large islands on the northwest end of the archipelago and include Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico. The Lesser Antilles (further split into the Windward and Leeward Islands) are the islands ranging from the Virgin Islands in the north to Grenada in the south. St. Kitts is one of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.

  • Antigua. One of the Leeward Islands, east of St. Kitts. It was colonized by the English in 1632 and now forms part of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

  • Arabia Felix. The name Ptolemy gave to the south and southwest of Arabia because of its fertile landscape.

  • Attic. Attica, the ancient district of east-central Greece, its chief city being Athens. Maritime trade far surpassed its agriculture.

  • Ausonia. Southern Italy.

  • Avon. Grainger refers to the Bristol Avon, a river in southwest England. It is different from Shakespeare’s Avon. Sugar houses or refineries lined the Avon in the eighteenth century, as access to water was crucial during the refining process.

  • Azores. Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean relatively close to the coasts of Europe and Africa. Along with the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeiras islands, they often served as waystations for Europeans voyaging from Europe or Africa to the Americas. As Grainger remarks, sugarcane was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese to these islands in the fifteenth century. The sugar plantations that were established there became models for the ones that were subsequently established in the Caribbean.

  • Barbados. An island first settled by the English in 1627; one of the Lesser Antilles. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.

  • Barbary-coast. The Mediterranean coastline of North Africa that runs from modern Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean and includes parts of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

  • Barbuda. A small island near Antigua and now part of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

  • Basseterre. The capital of St. Kitts.

  • Belgian fens. High Fens, a highland plateau in the eastern Belgian province of Liege. The region Grainger refers to as the Belgian fens had been part of the Netherlands, which were under Spanish control from the sixteenth century until the War of Spanish Succession. After the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), the Spanish ceded the Netherlands to Charles VI of Austria.

  • Bermuda. An island colonized by the English in the early seventeenth century; now an overseas territory of Britain in the north Atlantic.

  • Biscay. An inlet of the Atlantic Ocean to the west of France and the north of Spain; affected by strong currents and storms.

  • Body-ponds. A watershed in Antigua.

  • Bristol. City located in the southwest of England. Also one of England’s most important sugar-refining cities in the eighteenth century. Although the initial steps of sugar production happened in the Caribbean, sugar was further refined in Britain before being sold to consumers there.

  • Cambria. Latin name for Wales.

  • Canary and Cape-Verd Islands. The Canary and Cape Verde Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean were relatively close to the coasts of Europe and Africa. Along with the Azores and the Madeiras, they often served as waystations for Europeans voyaging from Europe or Africa to the Americas. Sugarcane was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese to these islands in the fifteenth century, and the sugar plantations that were established there became models for the ones that were subsequently established in the Caribbean.

  • Caraccas. Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.

  • Caribbe. The Caribbean.

  • Cathäy. An old name for China.

  • Charente. River in southwest France that empties into the Bay of Biscay near Rochefort; the site of an important French naval base.

  • Chili. Chile.

  • Congo. Kingdom in southwest Africa north of Angola and near the modern Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

  • Constantinople. Present-day Istanbul.

  • Cornish mine. Places of tin deposits in Cornwall and the surrounding areas in western Britain.

  • Crab island. Isla de Vieques, a part of Puerto Rico that lies immediately east of the main island.

  • Decan. The Deccan plateau, immediately to the east of Kerala, on the southwest coast of India.

  • Dorchestria. According to Gilmore, a Latinized name that refers to the town of Dorchester in the southern English county of Dorset.

  • Drave. River in central Europe that forms the boundary between Croatia and Hungary.

  • East-Indies. The historical term for the whole of Southeast Asia to the east of and including India.

  • Egg-Harbor. Now a township in New Jersey.

  • Enna. City and province in central Sicily, and the location of a Sicilian slave revolt (134-132 BCE).

  • Eton. A prestigious English boarding school for boys founded in the fifteenth century.

  • Gallia. France.

  • Ganges. Also Ganga, a river that flows through India and Bangladesh.

  • Gaul. France.

  • Golden Coast. Term used by Europeans to define one of the four major trading regions on the West African coast. Although it is difficult to establish the borders of these regions with exactitude, they included the Grain Coast (roughly corresponding to modern Sierra Leone and Liberia), the Ivory Coast (modern Côte d’Ivoire), the Gold Coast (modern Ghana), and the Slave Coast (modern Togo, Benin, and Nigeria). British slave ships often made port on the Cape Verde islands off the coast of modern Senegal before sailing down the coast of Africa, trading goods along the way. Once they had rounded the Bight of Benin, they turned west and followed the equator past the island of Saint Thomas (São Tomé) and toward the Caribbean. It is important to note that people were enslaved and embarked from a much larger region than the one denominated by the Slave Coast (the region of embarkation ranged from at least Senegal to Angola).

  • Grampia. A region in northeastern Scotland, the western part of which is mountainous.

  • Guayaquil. A gulf and river in Ecuador leading to the city of Guayaquil. The modern name of the river is the Rio Guayas.

  • Guiana. The aggregate name for the colonies located along the northern coast of South America between the mouth of the Orinoco River (in modern Venezuela) and the mouth of the Amazon (in modern Brazil). Colonizers included Portugal, France, the Netherlands, England, and Spain.

  • Guinea. A region on the west coast of Africa that served as a center of the Atlantic slave trade. Although its precise borders are difficult to pinpoint, it ranged from Sierra Leone to Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. It should not be confused with the modern nation of Guinea.

  • Havannah. Havana, the capital of Cuba, which the British took in 1762 during the Seven Years’ War.

  • Iërne. Ireland. Ireland supplied Caribbean plantations with salted beef and other provisions.

  • Indus. River in southern Asia, rising in the Kailas mountain range in Tibet and flowing through India and Pakistan.

  • Jamaica. The island of Jamaica became an English colony in 1655. It gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.

  • Karukera. Guadeloupe. In 1759, as part of the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), British forces attacked and forced the surrender of the French colony of Guadeloupe.

  • Kent. County in southeastern England.

  • Leeward Islands. Leeward is a nautical term meaning sheltered from the wind (i.e., downwind). The Leeward Islands include the British and US Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthélemy, Barbuda, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and Dominica.

  • Levant. Refers to the eastern part of the Mediterranean.

  • Libya. Not the modern nation of Libya but the Libyan desert in the eastern Sahara. Grainger uses “Lybia” and “Lybians” several times in Book IV of The Sugar-Cane to signify Africa and Africans.

  • Lincoln. The county town of Lincolnshire in eastern England.

  • Lusitania. Now modern Portugal. Lusitania was an ancient region of western Iberia inhabited by the Lusitani but also by other peoples, including Celtic tribes.

  • Madeiras. Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean relatively close to the coasts of Europe and Africa. Along with the Azores and the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, they often served as waystations for Europeans voyaging from Europe or Africa to the Americas. Sugarcane was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese to these islands in the fifteenth century, and the sugar plantations that were established there became models for the ones that were subsequently established in the Caribbean.

  • Malabar. A region on the southwest coast of India (modern Kerala).

  • Maldivy Islands. The Maldives archipelago, which is in the Indian Ocean. Now the Republic of Maldives.

  • Marne. A French tributary of the Seine that flows through the Champagne region in northeastern France. Wines have been made there since the Roman era, but most champagnes were still wines until the mid-nineteenth century, when sparkling wines became popular.

  • Martinico. Spanish name for the island of Martinique, the northernmost of the Windward Islands. Now an overseas department of France.

  • Matanina. Martinique. The French colony of Martinique surrendered to British forces in February 1762.

  • Media. The location of hot springs that the Romans called the sacred waters of Hercules.

  • Minnah. Elmina, a city on modern Ghana’s Atlantic coast. It was the first European settlement in West Africa and a major stop on the routes of the Atlantic slave trade.

  • Mocha. A seaport in Yemen at the entrance to the Red Sea. Also a term applied to coffee of high grade that was once exported from Mocha.

  • Mount Misery. A name used by Europeans for the main volcanic mountain on St. Kitts. It was renamed Mt. Liamuiga when St. Kitts and Nevis became independent.

  • Mountserrat. Montserrat is a British overseas territory in the Leeward Islands.

  • Niger. The Niger river. One of Africa’s largest rivers. Its source lies in modern Guinea, and it empties into the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria.

  • Oronoko. The Orinoco river, which passes through modern Colombia and Venezuala.

  • Plata. Rio de la Plata, an estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and the Paraná rivers in South America.

  • Quanza. Cuanzo (or Kwanza) river in modern Angola. It drains into the Atlantic Ocean south of Luanda (known in the eighteenth century as Loango or Loando).

  • Rey. Likely the Rey (or Rio del Rey) estuary in modern Cameroon. It is not clear whether Grainger means a specific river within this estuarial system.

  • Rhine. A major river that flows through Germany.

  • Rio Grandê. A major estuary in modern Guinea-Bissau.

  • Sabrina. A poetic name for the River Severn, which is Britain’s longest river and empties into the Bristol Channel.

  • Sanaga. Most likely the Senegal river, which empties into the Atlantic ocean at St. Louis on Senegal’s northern border with Mauritania. There is a Sanaga river that empties into the Gulf of Guinea just south of Douala in modern Cameroon, but this appears to have been called the Cameroon or Camarones river prior to the mid-nineteenth century.

  • Scotia. Latin name for Scotland.

  • Sheen. The old name for what is now the London borough of Richmond upon Thames.

  • Sparta. A powerful city-state in ancient Greece.

  • St. Christopher. The island of St. Christopher or St. Kitts was known as Liamuiga by the indigenous Caribs who lived there. Columbus claimed it on behalf of Spain in 1493, and it was partitioned between the French and the English in the early seventeenth century, at which time it was primarily a tobacco colony. While the two countries exchanged control of the island several times during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was firmly under British control when Grainger left England in 1759 during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). St. Kitts has been part of the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis (also known as the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis) since it gained independence from Great Britain in 1983.

  • St. Croix. An island that now forms part of the US Virgin Islands.

  • St. Domingo. Hispaniola.

  • St. Domingue. A French colony, renamed Haiti after a revolution led by enslaved and free people of African descent succeeded in overthrowing colonial rule in 1804.

  • St. Jago de la Vega. The capital of Jamaica under Spanish colonial rule and then under English colonial rule until the late nineteenth century, also called Santiago de la Vega (the English renamed it “Spanish Town”). It lies just west of Kingston, the current capital of Jamaica.

  • Tempé. The name of a valley in Thessaly located between Mounts Olympus and Ossa; it also can be used as a general name for a beautiful valley or rural spot.

  • Temple of the Sun. Also known as the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, an ancient city in Syria.

  • Thame. The Thames.

  • Thames. The longest river in England, which rises in the Costwold Hills of east Gloucestershire and flows across southern England to enter the North Sea at The Nore. The Thames was another major site for sugar refining in the eighteenth century.

  • Tille. River in Burgundy, a major wine-producing region in France.

  • Tobago. An island located northeast of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. Now part of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Torrid Zone. A theoretical climatic zone lying between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer; the tropics. The ancients believed that the torrid zone was uninhabitable. While the colonization of the Caribbean proved otherwise, many continued to believe that the tropics could induce what they called degeneration or the degradation of bodies and faculties.

  • Tyre. Town on the Mediterranean coast in southern Lebanon. It was a major Phoenician seaport for trade from 2000 BCE through the Roman period.

  • Vigornian. Latin name referring to Worcester, a center of cider production in England.

  • Volga. River in western Russia that connects to the Baltic, Moscow, and Black Seas before flowing into the Caspian Sea.

  • Volta. The Volta river in Ghana, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Accra.

  • West-Indies. Historically, the West Indies is the region that includes the northern coast of South America, Central America, Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. We use the term Caribbean throughout this site to refer to the islands from Grenada through Cuba.

  • Wiltshire. County in England. It has been a center of the English weaving and woolen industry for nearly 4000 years.

  • Zaire. Zaire or Congo river. The second longest river in Africa, it drains into the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Plants

  • Acajou (Anacardium occidentale). Another name for the cashew or cashewnut tree. Its native range is Trinidad to tropical South America.

  • Acassee. Probably the sweet acacia (Acacia farnesiana), also known as the West Indian black-thorn.

  • Almond (Prunus dulcis). A nut primarily native to western Asia.

  • Anana (Ananas comosus). Pineapple. It originated in Central or South America and was brought by Amerindians to the Caribbean (Higman 188).

  • Anata (Bixa orellana). Also anatta, anatto, or annatto. A low, shrubby tree native to the tropical Americas that was used from precolonial times by indigenous peoples to produce a reddish-orange dye.

  • Angola’s bloomy bush. Refers to the pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan). Pigeon pea is a drought-resistant crop that has historically been important for small-scale farmers in semi-arid areas. It was commonly grown in provision grounds because it could survive without much water or attention. It is native to South Asia and was first domesticated in India. By 2000 BCE, it also was being cultivated in East Africa, from where it was brought to the Americas, most likely as a result of the slave trade.

  • Avocado. Grainger mentions two kinds of avocado in his note in Book I, p. 8: “the one bearing a green fruit, which is the most delicate, and the other a red, which is less esteemed, and grows chiefly in Mexico.” There are multiple varieties of avocado. The one that Grainger identifies as bearing a green fruit may be Persea americana var. americana, also known as the West Indian avocado. The one that Grainger identifies as growing chiefly in Mexico may be Persea americana var. drymifolia, also known as the Mexican avocado.

  • Baccacoua. A kind of cassava (Manihot esculenta) that Grainger claims only Amerindians consumed (versus Europeans and Africans).

  • Balm. The name of various aromatic plants, particularly those of the genera Melissa and Melittis.

  • Bay-grape (Coccoloba uvifera). A seaside plant whose native range is Florida to Peru and the Caribbean to northern South America.

  • Bearded fig (Ficus citrifolia). Also known as the wild banyan tree or the wild fig, this fig is the national tree of Barbados, and its native range includes Florida and the tropical Americas.

  • Bell-apple. One of several names for Passiflora laurifolia, a passion fruit relative whose native range is the Caribbean to northern and northeastern Brazil.

  • Bellyach (Jatropha gossypiifolia). The bellyache bush has a native range that includes Mexico and the tropical Americas.

  • Bermuda cedar (Juniperus bermudiana). A species of cedar native to Bermuda that was used by early colonists as building material and fuel. By the 1830s, the ship-building industry had denuded Bermuda of most of its indigenous cedars. It is still a critically endangered species.

  • Bonavist (Lablab purpureus). A species of bean whose native range includes the Cape Verde Islands, tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, and India.

  • Broom-bush. Gilmore identifies the broom bush as possibly Sida acuta, a plant native to Central America with yellow flowers that open in the morning.

  • Cacao (Theobroma cacao). The cacao tree is the source of chocolate, which is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. Cacao is native to Central and South America and was first cultivated by Amerindians thousands of years ago. Europeans first encountered cacao in Mexico, where the Aztecs placed a high value on it: cacao was prepared into chocolate drinks that were consumed by the Aztec elite, as well as during religious rituals, and cacao seeds were used as currency and tribute. Cacao was first brought to the Caribbean by Spaniards, who established plantations to supply Europe with chocolate. Although some Europeans initially found the taste of chocolate off-putting (the Aztecs did not add sugar to their chocolate), it was being consumed in Europe in significant quantities by the seventeenth century, when it was branded as a kind of miracle food that would give its consumers health and strength. For instance, see the title of Henry Stubbe’s 1662 treatise on chocolate, entitled The Indian Nectar, which portrayed chocolate not only as a health food but also as an aphrodisiac. There were also reports from seventeenth-century Jamaica that sailors and others who had to perform hard labor consumed it regularly. It is possible that maroons living in the mountains of Jamaica consumed chocolate as a subsistence food, too (Hughes, The American Physitian 131). There are three main varieties of cacao used in commercial chocolate production today: the Forastero, the Trinitario, and the Criollo. The Criollo is the most prized variety. The name “cacao” is derived from the Nahuatl word cacahuatl, and the scientific name Theobroma cacao also includes a Greek term that translates to “food of the gods.”

  • Calaba (Calophyllum antillanum). A hardwood tree whose native range includes Central America and the Caribbean.

  • Calaloo. Since the seventeenth century, “callaloo” has been used to refer to several different plants. Today, callaloo usually refers to Amaranthus viridis, a plant whose native range is the tropical Americas. What the various plants labeled callaloo had in common was the ability of their leaves to serve as edible greens. They are also weedy plants that can survive in a wide range of environments, including wastelands. They formed an important part of the diets of the enslaved, probably because they were a hardy and reliable source of food (Higman 100-107).

  • Candle-weed (Senna alata). Also known today as the candle bush or king of the forest. Its native range is southwestern Mexico to the tropical Americas.

  • Carnation (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). Not the modern carnation but instead a shrub that produces showy orange and yellow flowers with red stamens. It was known in the colonial period as Poinciana pulcherrima, Barbados Pride, and peacock flower, among other names, most referring to the plant’s beauty (the Latin word pulcher means beauty). From the seventeenth century, Europeans reported that it was being used by Amerindian and African women in the Americas as an abortifacient: Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), a Dutch naturalist and artist who traveled to Surinam in the seventeenth century, also claimed that women used the plant to induce abortions because they did not want to give birth to children who would be enslaved (2.124-125). The origins of the plant are unclear: some botanists believe it to be native to Asia and an early introduction to the Caribbean, while others believe it to be native to the tropical Americas.

  • Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). Also called the locust bean tree, the carob tree is native to Mediterranean Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey. It is the source of carob, which is often used today as a chocolate substitute.

  • Cassada (Manihot esculenta). Cassava. Also known as manioc and yuca. It was domesticated in South America thousands of years ago and then brought to the Caribbean islands by Amerindians. It was one of the most important food sources for Amerindians during the precolonial era; it was subsequently adopted by Africans and Europeans in the Caribbean as well. Cultivated varieties of cassava are classed into two groups: bitter and sweet. Bitter cassava is highly poisonous: its roots, which are the parts of the plant that are prepared for consumption, contain cyanide. Cassava has advantages that offset its toxic nature, however: it can grow in poor soils and conditions, one planting produces several harvests, and the roots can be stored in the ground for a long time without spoiling. The root’s poison also can be neutralized by proper processing: Amerindians and other early Caribbean consumers usually processed cassava root by grating it and then pressing the poisonous juice out of it to make a flour, which could be eaten as a porridge or turned into various cakes or breads. Sweet cassava is not poisonous and can be eaten without the processing that bitter cassava requires. Although it is more dangerous to eat, bitter cassava historically has been cultivated more than sweet cassava, perhaps because it has a higher yield and because it makes a better flour (Higman 61-69).

  • Cassia. Probably Cassia fistula, commonly used as a purgative. It is likely native to India and Sri Lanka.

  • Ceiba (Ceiba pentandra). Also known as the kapok or silk-cotton tree, the ceiba, whose native range is Mexico and the tropical Americas, can achieve a height of fifty meters. To the Maya, the ceiba was a sacred tree whose roots connected the underworld to the human and upper worlds.

  • Cherimoya (Annona cherimola). A fruit that originated in South America and is perhaps native to Ecuador.

  • Chickweed (Stellaria media). A plant native to Europe.

  • Chili-strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis). Chilean strawberry, native to the Pacific Northwest but probably spread by migratory birds to Hawaii and Chile, where indigenous peoples began cultivating it thousands of years ago. In the eighteenth century, the Chilean strawberry was brought to Europe, where it was crossed with the Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) to create today’s commercial strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa).

  • China (Smilax china). The china-root plant is valued for its medicinal properties. Its native range extends from China to Japan and the Philippines.

  • Coco. The coca plant, the source of cocaine. Two species of coca are now in cultivation: Erythroxylum coca, whose native range is western South America, and Erythroxylum novogranatense, whose native range is Colombia to northwestern Venezuela and Peru.

  • Coco-nut tree (Cocos nucifera). The coconut palm, which is native to coastal areas of Melanesia and Southeast Asia, has great powers of natural disperal since its nuts (the coconuts) can survive up to 120 days in seawater. Nevertheless, it is believed that Europeans introduced the coconut palm to the Caribbean in the sixteenth century.

  • Coffee. A major agricultural commodity in the eighteenth-century Caribbean, made from the roasted seeds of the genus Coffea. Coffea arabica, the most widely cultivated species, is native to northeast tropical Africa.

  • Cotton. Commercial cotton (genus Gossypium) is produced from several different species, some of which are native to the Old World and others of which are native to the New World.

  • Cow-itch (Mucuna pruriens). Cowitch, a viny plant that produces severe itching after contact with skin; used on sugar plantations as compost, forage, and cattle feed. Its seeds destroy intestinal parasites. Likely native to tropical Asia and possibly Africa.

  • Cucumber (Cucumis sativus). A member of the gourd family, the cucumber has a native range extending from Himalaya to northern Thailand.

  • Custard apple (Annona reticulata). The fruit of a tree whose native range is Mexico to northeastern Venezuela.

  • Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia seguine). The dumb cane looks very similar to sugarcane, and colonists often would eat it, mistaking it for the sugarcane. The dumb cane contains a poisonous sap, however, that swells the tongues of those who consume it and prevents them from speaking for several hours. Its native range is the Caribbean and tropical South America.

  • Ebony. Refers to various Asian and African trees of the genus Diospyros in the ebony family (Ebenaceae). Historically, ebony wood has been valued for its dark color and used to make furniture, ornaments, and other objects.

  • Edda. Edda or eddo commonly referred to taro (Colocasia esculenta). It also, however, sometimes referred to as yautia (Xanthosoma sagittifolium). Both plants produce roots that were consumed by the enslaved because they were easy to cultivate and had a high yield. Colocasia esculenta originated in southeastern or southern Central Asia but was being cultivated in Africa by 100 CE. From there, it was brought to the Americas on slave ships, which stocked it as food. Xanthosoma sagittifolium has a native range extending from Costa Rica to tropical South America (Higman 82-86).

  • English bean (Vicia faba). Also known as fava, broad, or horse bean. It originated in Western Asia thousands of years ago and spread from there to Central Asia, Europe, and Africa. Beans were sometimes sent from England to the Caribbean to serve as provisions. They also formed part of the provisions of slave ships. The horse bean was not as central to the diets of the enslaved as other bean species, however, many of which were cultivated by the enslaved themselves.

  • English field-pea (Pisum sativum). Also known as the English pea, garden pea, or green pea. Native to Eurasia.

  • Fern-tree. Tree ferns are primitive plants that belong to the order Cyatheales.

  • Flower Fence. One of several common names for Caesalpinia pulcherrima because it was frequently used as a flowering barrier fence. See entry for “Carnation” above.

  • Forbidden fruit. Refers to species of citrus that are now virtually extinct. It is similar in taste to the orange and the shaddock, and it is closely related to the grapefruit (Higman 180).

  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale). An herb probably native to India that was brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish in the sixteenth century (Higman 95).

  • Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis). Passion fruit. Its native range is Panama to Venezuela and Peru.

  • Guaiac. Either Guaiacum officinale or Guaiacum sanctum, both of which have native ranges that include the Caribbean. In the eighteenth century, the guaiac tree also was known as lignum vitae (“wood of life”) because it was used to treat a variety of diseases, including syphilis and yaws. It also was widely believed to be an abortifacient. Both Guaiacum officinale and Guaiacum sanctum are now endangered due to overexploitation and habitat loss.

  • Guava. A fruit from the small tree Psidium guajava, which is probably native to Central and South America but was naturalized throughout the Caribbean by the eighteenth century.

  • Honeysuckle. One of several names for Passiflora laurifolia, a passion fruit relative whose native range is the Caribbean to northern and northeastern Brazil.

  • Indian cale. The term “Indian cale” can refer to the species Colocasia esculenta and Xanthosoma sagittifolium.

  • Indian millet. Another name for Guinea corn (Sorghum bicolor). Often planted in the provision grounds of the enslaved and a key source of food, as indicated by an eighteenth-century song sung by the enslaved that declares, “Guinea Corn, I long to see you/Guinea Corn, I long to plant you/Guinea Corn, I long to mould you/Guinea Corn, I long to weed you…Guinea Corn, I long to eat you” (qtd. in Higman 231).

  • Indigo (genus Indigofera). A major agricultural commodity in the eighteenth-century Caribbean, indigo is found in tropical regions throughout the world. Various species are used in the production of blue dye.

  • Ipecacuan. Ipecacuanha, an extract that induces vomiting and that comes from the plant Carapichea ipecacuanha, an herbal shrub whose native range is southeastern Nicaragua to Brazil.

  • Jalap (Mirabilis jalapa). Also known as the four o’clock flower because its flowers open in the afternoon. Probably native to Mexico; used by the Aztecs as an ornamental. Sometimes believed to be native to the Peruvian Andes because it was exported from that region to Europe in the 1500s.

  • Knotted grass. Probably Spigelia anthelmia, a plant known for its ability to rid the body of intestinal parasites, including tapeworms. Its native range is the tropical and subtropical Americas.

  • Lady’s-thighs (Pyrus communis ‘Jargonelle’). A pear known today as the jargonelle pear, one of the oldest pears in cultivation.

  • Lemon (Citrus limon). Citrus fruits originated in Southeast Asia and spread from there to the Mediterranean and Spain. Columbus probably carried lemons to the Caribbean, along with other citrus fruits (Higman 175).

  • Lignum vitae. “Wood of life.” The hard, dense wood of the guaiac tree (Guaiacum officinale or Guaiacum sanctum, both of which have native ranges that include the Caribbean). It was used to treat a variety of diseases, including syphilis and yaws.

  • Lime (Citrus aurantifolia). Citrus fruits originated in Southeast Asia and spread from there to the Mediterranean and Spain. Columbus brought limes to the Caribbean (Higman 175).

  • Locust bean tree (Ceratonia siliqua). Also called the carob tree, the locust bean tree is native to Mediterranean Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey. It is the source of carob, which is often used today as a chocolate substitute.

  • Logwood. The commercial product of a tree (Haematoxylum campechianum) indigenous to Belize and the southeastern coast of the Gulf of Campeche and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. A source of the dye substance haematoxylin, which produces blue, red, and purple colors.

  • Madre de cacao (Gliricidia sepium). A tree whose native range includes Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is used as a shade tree for cacao and other plants.

  • Mahoe-berry. May be the berry from the blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus), a tree whose native range is Cuba and Jamaica. Also naturalized to other parts of the Caribbean; now the national tree of Jamaica.

  • Maize (Zea mays). Also called corn, great corn, and Indian corn. Its native range is Mexico and Guatemala. Maize was introduced to Africa around 1500. Grainger could also be referring to Guinea corn (Sorghum bicolor), an important staple crop first cultivated in Africa thousands of years ago (Higman 222-232).

  • Mammee apple (Mammea americana). A large fruit native to the Caribbean and northern South America.

  • Mammee sapota (Pouteria sapota). A sweet fruit whose native range is Mexico and Central America. Not to be confused with the mammee apple. Another fruit commonly confused with both the mammee sapota and the mammee apple is the nasebery (Manilkara zapota), also known as the sapodilla or the nispero.

  • Mangrove. Mangroves are trees of the genus Rhizophora, which contains well over a hundred species, most native to the Old World but some native to the New. Mangroves can thrive in soils of varying levels of salinity and have colonized tropical and subtropical coastlines to form forests and thickets.

  • Mezamby. Gilmore identifies mezamby as probably Cleome gynandra, a plant whose native range is the tropical and subtropical Old World.

  • Myrtle (Myrtus communis). An aromatic shrub native to the Mediterranean region and associated with Venus, the goddess of love.

  • Narcissus. The genus Narcissus contains several species of plants with yellow flowers, including the daffodil.

  • Niccar (Guilandina bonduc). The knicker nut is a flowering legume whose native range is the subtropical and tropical parts of the world.

  • Nightshade. Most likely refers to Atropa belladonna, a poisonous plant also known as deadly nightshade or belladonna. The foliage, fruits, and roots are all highly toxic, and consuming only ten berries can kill an adult human. Its native range is England to central and southern Europe to Iran.

  • Oak (Quercus robur). The British or English oak, a tree native to Britain. It was long used in shipbuilding, including by the British navy.

  • Ochra (Abelmoschus esculentus). Okra is probably native to Africa and was one of the most commonly cultivated plants in the provision grounds and gardens of the enslaved. It possesses a glutinous or slimy pulp that was used as a thickener in stews called pepper pots, one of the most popular dishes in the colonial Caribbean (Higman 174-175).

  • Olive (Olea europaea). The olive tree is widely distributed across the Mediterranean region, Africa, and Asia and has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for over five thousand years.

  • Orange. An evergreen citrus tree and fruit. Columbus brought both sour oranges (Citrus aurantium) and sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) to the Caribbean (Higman 175). Citrus fruits originated in Southeast Asia and spread from there to the Mediterranean and Spain.

  • Panspan. According to Gilmore, the panspan or hog plum is Spondias mombin. Its native range is Mexico to the tropical Americas.

  • Papaw (Carica papaya). Also pawpaw, better known as the papaya. Its native range is southern Mexico to Venezuela.

  • Pine. Pineapple. See “Anana.”

  • Plantane. Plantains (family Musaceae) are closely related to the banana, and they both formed an important part of the diets of the enslaved (although plantains were more important than bananas). Wild species of plantain and banana originated from and were first cultivated in ancient Southeast Asia, but cultivated species reached Africa in prehistoric times. They were then introduced to Spain by the tenth century and the Canary Islands by the fifteenth. They subsequently were introduced to the Caribbean by the Spanish (Higman 134).

  • Plumb-tree. According to Gilmore, Spondias purpurea. Its native range is Mexico to northern Colombia.

  • Prickle-weed. Might refer to Amaranthus spinosus, a plant sometimes known as prickly callaloo. Its native range is Mexico and the tropical Americas.

  • Prickly pear. Common name for cactus plants of the genus Opuntia, which contains over a hundred species that are distributed throughout the Americas. Also known as nopal and commonly consumed by human beings and animals as food. Opuntia was of significant interest to eighteenth-century European naturalists because some species served as food plants for the cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), the source of a highly prized red dye.

  • Prickly vine. Night-blooming cereus (Selenicereus grandiflorus), also sometimes known as the queen of the night because of the exquisite beauty and fragrant scent of its large, white flowers. These flowers only open after sunset. Because of this unusual property, the night-blooming cereus became a subject of much speculation and even fantasy on the part of European botanists and observers, who wondered if it could be compared to a nocturnal animal. Botanists today have realized that the flower blooms at night because the cactus’ pollinators, which include bats and moths, are nocturnal themselves. They also note the fact that the flower’s petals are opalescent and highly visible at night, especially in the moonlight, to attract these pollinators. For more on the night-blooming cereus, see a digital exhibit on “Poetic Botany” created by the New York Botanical Garden (https://www.nybg.org/poetic-botany/selenicereus/). The night-blooming cereus is native to the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

  • Privet. Refers to any of a number of shrubs belonging to the genus Ligustrum. Native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia; commonly used for hedging. Some species are invasive.

  • Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum). A plant whose native range includes southern Siberia and northern and central China. Traditionally used for indigestion and bowel complaints; now commonly used as a fruit.

  • Rice. Rice did not make up a major part of the diets of the enslaved living in the Caribbean islands, but South Carolina was the major Atlantic exporter of the rice species known as Oryza sativa, which originated in Asia. There is also a species of rice indigenous to Africa known as Oryza glaberrima. Enslaved persons in the Caribbean islands may occasionally have grown both Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima in their provision grounds and gardens.

  • Ricinus. The physic nut plant (Jatropha curcas), which is often conflated with the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis). The physic nut tree is native to the tropical Americas. It is toxic to human beings and livestock and was often used as a purgative in the eighteenth century.

  • Royal palm (Roystonea oleracea). A tree that can reach forty meters in height, native to the Lesser Antilles, northern South America, and Guatemala. Grainger also calls it the palmeto.

  • Sabbaca. A variety of avocado (Persea americana).

  • Sand-box tree (Hura crepitans). A tree that gets its name from its seed pods, which, when dried, were used as sandboxes for blotting ink. Apart from being quite tall, the sandbox tree is peculiar for two other reasons: its leaves, bark, and sap are poisonous, and, when ripe, its seed pods open with loud, explosive sounds, flinging their seeds at speeds exceeding 100 mph. Its native range is the tropical Americas.

  • Sappadilla (Manilkara zapota). The sapodilla, also known as the nasebery or nispero, is a sour or tart fruit whose native range includes Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

  • Sarsaparilla. Refers to various species of the genus Smilax native to Central and South America. Spanish conquistadors named it zarzaparilla and learned from indigenous peoples to use it as an antisyphilitic. Also used to flavor drinks, including root beer in the nineteenth century.

  • Sempre-vive. The genus Sempervivum (“always living”), a group of plants native to Europe and parts of Asia.

  • Senna. The genus Senna contains various plants native to the Old and New World tropics that have laxative effects.

  • Sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica). The mimosa plant’s leaves fold up when touched. It is native to the tropical Americas and became an object of fascination to European naturalists.

  • Shaddoc (Citrus maxima). The shaddock is a kind of citrus, also known as the pomelo or pummelo. It is native to Southeast Asia and became known as the shaddock in the eighteenth century because it was supposedly brought to the Caribbean by an Englishman named Captain Shaddock.

  • Snakeweed. May be Euphorbia hyssopifolia, a plant whose native range is the tropical and subtropical Americas.

  • Solanum (Datura stramonium). Also known as fireweed or jimsonweed. Probably originated in the tropical regions of Central and South America.

  • Soursop (Annona muricata). A fruit of tropical American origin.

  • Star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito). The fruit of a tree native to the Greater Antilles (Higman 202).

  • Sugar apple (Annona squamosa). Also known as sweetsop; the fruit of a tree native to lowland Central America.

  • Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum). Most likely native to New Guinea, where it was first cultivated thousands of years ago and from where it began to be dispersed by human migrants around 8000 BCE. By the fourth to sixth centuries CE, sugarcane was being refined into crystallized sugar in India and Persia. From there, sugarcane and knowledge of sugar cultivation, processing, and refining traveled to the Mediterranean. The Spanish then transplanted sugar to the Americas and established plantations there. Columbus first brought sugar to the Caribbean in 1493.

  • Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). A tuber which probably originated in Central America or northwestern South America.

  • Tamarind (Tamarindus indica). A tree probably native to tropical Africa and Madagascar. Its fruit pulp was used in food and beverages, including punch, and for medicinal purposes.

  • Tanie. The tanie, tannia, or yautia is technically the species Xanthosoma sagittifolium, but it was often confused with taro or eddo (Colocasia esculenta). Xanthosoma sagittifolium has a native range extending from Costa Rica to tropical South America. Colocasia esculenta originated in southeastern or southern Central Asia (Higman 82-86). Tannia and taro leaves were primarily consumed by the enslaved because they contained needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate. These crystals irritated the mouth and throat when eaten, and the leaves had to be boiled for a long period of time to reduce what was known as the “scratching” effect (Higman 86-87).

  • Tea (Camellia sinensis). The species from which commercially produced tea is derived. Its native range is Southeastern Asia. Tea and coffee, as well as chocolate, were introduced to Europe as exotic beverages in the seventeenth century.

  • Thyme. Plants of the genus Thymus, native to Greenland, Eurasia, and northeastern tropical Africa.

  • Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). A major agricultural commodity in the eighteenth-century Caribbean and native to the Americas. It was introduced from the Americas to Africa in the 1500s.

  • Turpentine tree. Likely Bursera simaruba, a tree whose native range is the Caribbean and Mexico to Brazil.

  • Vanella (Vanilla planifolia). Vanilla. The Aztecs flavored their chocolate with vanilla, which is native to Mexico and Belize, as well as other spices, including chili peppers (genus Capsicum), which have a native range that includes Mexico and the tropical Americas.

  • Vervain (Verbena officinalis). Also known as verbena; an herbal shrub whose native range is the Old World to Australia.

  • Walnut (Juglans regia). A hardwood plant with a native range stretching from the Balkan Peninsula to Iran.

  • Water-lemon. One of several names for Passiflora laurifolia, a passion fruit relative whose native range is the Caribbean to northern and northeastern Brazil.

  • Water-melon (Citrullus lanatus). The watermelon is native to Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, and Sudan.

  • White cedar. The white cedar is probably Tabebuia heterophylla, a timber tree widely distributed throughout the Caribbean.

  • Wild liquorice (Abrus precatorius). A slender, viny plant that produces scarlet, pea-sized seeds with small black spots at the points of attachment. The seeds are known as jumbee beads, while the plant is sometimes known as the rosary pea. The seeds are commonly used to make jewelry, and they have been associated with the practice of obeah, perhaps because the black spots on the seeds resemble eyes. The seeds also may have been used to heal or poison since they contain the toxin abrin, which can induce nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and dehydration. Abrus precatorius is native to Africa, Asia, Malesia, Australia, and the Pacific region.

  • Wild pine-apple (Bromelia pinguin). Its native range is Mexico and the tropical Americas.

  • Wild red cedar (Cedrela odorata). The red cedar is an important timber tree found in Central and South America, as well as in the Caribbean. It is now considered vulnerable to extinction due to unsustainable levels of harvesting.

  • Worm-grass. Gilmore suggests that this is knotted grass (Spigelia anthelmia).

  • Yam. One of the most important food crops for enslaved persons in the Caribbean. There are several reasons yams (genus Discorea) became important to Afro-Caribbean diets: yam crop yields are high, yams are easily stored, and they can be prepared in several different ways. Just as crucially, yams formed a part of West African diets long before the commencement of the slave trade. As a result, slave traders often shipped large quantities of yams on trans-Atlantic voyages to feed the people on board, and yams accompanied Africans to the Americas, where they were able to continue cultivating them. Although there is one South American species of yam (Dioscorea trifida) that was transplanted to the Caribbean by Amerindians and consumed by subsequent inhabitants of the region, more widely used species in the colonial period included Dioscorea cayenensis, which is native to West Africa, and Dioscorea alata, which is native to Southeast Asia but had been introduced to the west coast of Africa by the Portuguese and Spanish by the sixteenth century (Higman 72-81). Roasting and boiling are two of the easiest ways to prepare yams and were thus two methods commonly employed by the enslaved. In the eighteenth-century Caribbean, enslaved persons also regularly prepared yams by following the long-established West African practice of pounding them with a mortar and pestle until they formed a paste that could be rolled into small balls. Pounded yams were sometimes known as fufu, a term derived from the Twi and Ga-Adangme languages that also applied to pounded plantain and cassava (Higman 78-81).

  • Yellow thistle. Most likely Argemone mexicana, the seeds of which are purgative. Also known as the Mexican prickly poppy; native to the tropical Americas.