Black soldier in 1802 digital art

8th West India regiment mutiny

DOMINICA – april 8, 1802

In 1802 the 8th West Indian Regiment rose up against officers at their post in Prince Rupert’s, Dominica. Tim Lockley explains the cause of the mutiny, and its immediate aftermath. Mutinies, where ordinary soldiers or sailors refuse to obey orders and might even attack their officers, occurred quite often in the 18th and 19th centuries. The mutiny of the 8th West India Regiment in Dominica in 1802 was one of the largest (it involved most of the Regiment), and seemed to confirm white fears that training and arming black men was a bad idea in a region where whites were heavily outnumbered by slaves. Formed in 1798, the 8th West India Regiment had 14 white officers, 21 black sergeants and 475 black privates. It had been used successfully in offensive operations against the French West Indian islands in 1801 before being posted to Prince Rupert’s. About 80 of the men were Africans recently purchased from slave ships who had only joined the Regiment shortly before the mutiny. On the evening of Friday 9 April 1802 a large portion of the men rose up against their white officers, killing five of them. Most were shot during the uprising, but one officer was tortured with bayonets before dying of his wounds. The remaining white men fled to the top of one of the two hills on Prince Rupert’s or escaped inland to get help. The mutineers were now in complete control of the fort…(read more from source below).



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