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The Willoughby Plan

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The Willoughby Plan

The English and French sent agents negotiate with the resisting Kalinago. The Windward was the last island frontier, the first diplomatic effort by the English to establish a foothold in Kalinago territory in the Windward was the Willoughby Plan of 1667.William Lord Willoughby, governor of Barbados has long recognized the great financial gain that he, Barbados and English would have if the Windward could be converted into slave based sugar plantations. In 1630 the Kalinago had repelled small scale military expedition. The Willoughby plan was not yet organized.

Peace Treaty
In response the Kalinago showed some flexibility. Willoughby wanted the Kalinago to sign a peace treaty that would remove any obstacles to expanding the plantations which used enslaved labor and that would promote English interests. In 1666 the Kalinago were tricked by the English to sign a treaty which actually signed away their ‘rights’ to inhabit Tortola.

The Kalinago leaders of the Lesser Antilles met with Willoughby’s delegation to negotiate the peace on March 23rd 1667. At the signing of the treaty were all the chief of all the Kalinago tribes. The conditions of the treaty said:-

1. The Kalinago of St. Vincent shall acknowledge themselves subjects of the King of English and be friends to all the amity with the English and enemies to their enemies.

2. The Kalinago shave have liberty to come to and depart from and any English island receive their protection therein and enjoy the same in St. Vincent and St. Lucia.

3. His majesty’s subjects shall be immediately delivered up.

4. Negros runaway from Barbados and fugitives from any English island shall be delivered to His Excellency as soon as required.

Within two months of the treaty a party of 54 English colonists from Barbados arrived at Vincent to set up settlement. However the Kalinago, Garifuna and Africans drove them off the island and broke the treaty with Barbados.

The Collapse of the Willoughby Plan
The collapse of the Barbados diplomatic initiative caused Governor Willoughby to move to the next stage of his plan (a full scale military offensive) but the kalinago proved too much for the Willoughby, and the expedition suffered a heavy loss.

Governor Stapleton of Leeward feared for the lives of Leeward Islanders and those who worked under an agreement with the Kalinago in Dominica. In 1676, Governor Atkins described the war effort as fruitless design with an overall result of the war that there remains ‘no likelihood of any plantations upon the Lesser Antilles. However Antiguans were forced to keep soldiers on guards to protect against the Kalinago soldiers.
Governor Stapleton argued that only the destruction of all the Caribbean Indians could be the best piece of service for the settlement considering the prospects settlements in Leeward and Windward. In December 1675 a petition to English government sought to raise soldiers to go into Dominica to destroy the Kalinago. Stapleton was frustrated because he could not protect the lives and property of the Leeward Islanders. He begs pardon for their safety through a letter. However they were aware that Leeward Islanders could not finance a major war effort, and the Kalinago ability to obtain intelligence with respect to their plans. With these two circumstances, Stephan instructed the English governor to order the French Barbados government to design an attack against the Kalinago because Barbados was closer to St. Vincent and Dominica and mainly because the war would be the best piece of service they could offer England while there was friendship with the French.

On 11th April 1713 English and France settled their American differences with the treaty of Utrecht. The kalinago were fighting a war to keep their space in St. Lucia, Tobago and Grenada. The French had feared that the successful English settlement would lead to the cutting of communications between Martinique and Guadeloupe, so they continued to assist the Kalinago with information against the English resistance.

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