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Caribbean Journal of Education

Louis Rothe's 1846 Report on Education in Post-Emancipation Antigua: Translated with an Introduction

Publication Date: 
January 1983

Louis Rothe, the author of this report, was an important public official in the Danish West Indies, whose career in the colonial service began at the beginning of the decade of the 1840s. The decade was marked by an intensifying public debate in Denmark and her colonies on the merits of emancipation, the manner and timing of its introduction, the justice of compensation and the nature of the regimen which would succeed emancipation. As part of its preparatory briefing, the government of Denmark in 1845 commissioned Rothe, by then High Court Assessor and Judge of Probate in St. Croix, to undertake a fact-finding mission throughout the West Indies. His instructions required him to gather information in those islands where slavery still existed, as well as in the British islands, compare the status of emancipated slaves with that of Denmark's West Indian slaves, and see what influence emancipation had had on sugar production and associated activities as well as on social relationships. So far as the colonies, particularly in the British West Indies, went, the choice was to be based on islands whose physical attributes or their circumstances before emancipation most closely resembled those of the Danish West Indies. Jamaica and Cuba were thus deliberately excluded.

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