Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2012 Issue

Travel in Jamaica: Buccaneers at the National Library in Downtown Kingston, in the Year 2012

Blome-richard

Richard Blome's Description of Jamaica.

PART II : Buccaneers’ Paradise.

BOOK 1: Richard Blome, A Description of the Island of Jamaica, With the Other Isles and Territories in America, to Which the English are Related (London, 1678).



The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) shelters some old books linked to the history of the island. Last month, I described the copy of Thomas Gage’s travel that played a key role in the English capturing Jamaica in 1655. The first years of the island under English dominion were rough times. Despite Oliver Cromwell’s privileges granted to the new settlers (including the English nationality), few wanted to migrate to this remote and unknown island, said to be hostile and unhealthy. By 1670, Jamaica became an official possession of the restored Crown and the book A Description of the Island of Jamaica... by Richard Blome was used as a tool of propaganda to help populating the colony. It was, as the NLJ states, published “at the request of Charles II, King of England.” The staff of the library handed me a disappointing in-12 volume, rebound in modern clothe. The inside, though, is very bright and complete of all maps, except... the one of Jamaica which, Lord forgives, has been carefully removed. A note of the library sends the desperate reader to the “map collection” with a barbarous reference (727 Fa 1671). This map was deeply inspired by its historical predecessor of 1671, John Ogilby’s, “the prototype of most of the first maps of Jamaica” says the NLJ. Twenty-seven pages only are dedicated to Jamaica. The rest focuses on “the other Isles and Territories in America, to which the English are Related”. The “Island of Barbadoes” is here described. So are Virginia or New-York. The work is bound with The Present State of Algiers (1678).

The idea was to attract new settlers to the young colony – it’d better be a good book. Blome describes a paradise regained, with fertile soils, a rich and generous nature giving gorgeous fruits. A heavenly haven... Enhanced in such a way, the island could not fail to rapidly prosper. To be honest, it did. Thanks to her natural ressources, indeed – but also thanks to the “ressources” stolen by the buccanners from the Spaniards. In the 1670’s, the island became the turf of the most feared men of their time, the dreadful buccaneers, who almost ruined the Spanish empire in America while turning Port Royal into “the most wicked city on Earth”... and one of the richest.

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Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On</i>, designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Abram Games, <i>Join the ATS</i>, 1941. $3,000 to $4,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> John Muir. <i>My First Summer in the Sierra</i>, Boston, 1911.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Ernest Hemingway. <i>For Whom the Bell Tolls</i>, New York, 1940. First edition later printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Upton Sinclair. <i>The Jungle</i>, New York, 1906. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> George Orwell. <i>Nineteen Eighty-Four</i>, 1949. First American edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Harper Lee. <i>To Kill a Mocking Bird</i>, 1960. Early printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Richard Wright. <i>Native Son</i>, New York, 1940. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Dryden, Congreve, and others. <i>Ovid’s Art of Love</i>, London, 1764. English translation of Ovid’s work.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> S. E. Hinton. <i>The Outsiders</i>, New York, 1967. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> J. D. Salinger. <i>The Catcher in the Rye</i>, Boston, 1951. Book club edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
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    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Tennessee Williams. <i>Sweet Bird of Youth</i>, 1959. First edition.

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