The English Conquest of Jamaica
Oliver Cromwell's Bid for Empire
Harvard University Press 2017
New Books in British StudiesNew Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network August 12, 2017 Dan Livesay
Carla Pestana’s new book The English Conquest of Jamaica: Oliver Cromwell’s Bid for Empire (Harvard University Press, 2017) is a rousing look at a transformative moment in Caribbean history. Pestana details the various political, economic, and religious factors that inspired England’s government, led by its new Protector Oliver Cromwell, to attempt an invasion of Spanish-held territory in the West Indies. She narrates the failed effort to take the island of Hispaniola, and the subsequent victory in conquering Jamaica. Yet, Pestana shows how incomplete that conquest was for the early years of English rule, and the various hardships that Jamaican settlers faced when trying to build the colonial economy. Along the way, she makes bold assertions about the conquest’s place in the broader history of English imperialism, as well as the role of piracy in Jamaican history.