Crossroads on the Coast: A Preliminary Examination of Bridgetown, Antigua
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In 1675, the English government passed a law that established six “trade towns” on Antigua. The law required that all imports, exports, and intra-island trade be conducted in these towns to be assessed for taxes. Of the six original towns – St. John’s, Parham, Falmouth, Carlisle Road, Bridgetown, and Bermudian Valley – all but two survive today: St. John’s, Parham, and Falmouth exist as they were, and Carlisle Road is now called “Old Road.” The remaining two towns were abandoned sometime in the past: Bermudian Valley’s location has been lost, and Bridgetown was abandoned in the 19th century, its inhabitants moving up the hill and establishing the modern town of St. Philip’s – the name of the church at Bridgetown. In 2016 I conducted preliminary archaeological surveys at the Bridgetown site and elsewhere on the island, in cooperation with Antigua National Parks Authority, to begin documenting the deterioration of the town ruins, compared to previous assessments done between 1987 and 1996, assess offshore cultural resources in the associated harbour, and to begin to answer questions about the town’s abandonment and assess the veracity of various local legends surrounding the site. This project serves as a pilot study towards a Ph.D. dissertation research project, which will aim at exploring the influence of Antigua’s sugar economy within the world trade network in the Early Modern Period.
Bord, Arik J K (2019). Crossroads on the Coast: A Preliminary Examination of Bridgetown, Antigua. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from