First Carib War

The First Carib War (1769 – 1773) was a military conflict between the Carib inhabitants of Saint Vincent and British military forces supporting British efforts at colonial expansion on the island.

Depiction of treaty negotiations between Black Caribs and British authorities on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in 1773 (1910)
Joseph Chatoyer, the chief of the Black Caribs in Saint Vincent, in an 1801 engraving

Led primarily by Black Carib chieftain Joseph Chatoyer, the Caribs successfully defended the windward side of the island against a military survey expedition in 1769, and rebuffed repeated demands that they sell their land to representatives of the British colonial government. Frustrated by what they saw as intransigence, the British commissioners launched a full-scale military assault on the Caribs in 1772 with the objective of subjugating and deporting them from the island.

British unfamiliarity with the windward lands of the island and effective Carib defence of the island's difficult mountain terrain blunted the British advance, and political opposition to the expedition in London prompted an enquiry and calls for it to be ended. With military matters at a stalemate, a peace agreement was signed in 1773 that delineated boundaries between British and Carib areas of the island.

A 1776 map of the Caribbean isle of Saint Vincent. The southern portion of the island was under British control, and the northern portion was under the control of the Black Caribs.

See alsoEdit


  • Marshall, Bernard (December 1973). "The Black Caribs — Native Resistance to British Penetration Into the Windward Side of St. Vincent 1763-1773". Caribbean Quarterly (Vol. 19, Number 4). JSTOR 23050239.