Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

David Landon

Second Advisor

Douglas Bolender

Third Advisor

Jerry Howard


This thesis examines the relationship between military control, social power, and economic influence in the Barbadian landscape between 1627 and 1837. Focusing on the relationship between the planter class, the Barbados militia, and the fortifications, this project looks at the influence of the planter elite over time, and how their economic and military influence altered the landscape. This thesis focuses on the role of fortifications as symbols of power and authority in the landscape, and as structures created to serve the interests of the political and social elite. In Barbados, the fortifications were not a static entity, but changed over time with the shifting security concerns of the local Barbadian planter class. This analysis primarily focuses on the population distribution, particularly that of the enslaved population during the colonial period, as well as land ownership and changes in the layout of the fortification system over time. This thesis used GIS to compare historical maps and historical census data, which indicated that the fortification system adapted over time to respond to threats facing the Barbadian ruling class. Cartographic and census data also indicated the degree of growth of the estates and landholdings of the Barbadian planter class, and the consolidation of land and wealth into the hands of a small group of political and social elite over the eighteenth century. The placement of fortifications on the island coincided with the financial and security interests of the planter elite, changing in reaction to both internal and external threats to their control.


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