It was in 1655, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, that the British took Jamaica from the Spanish. It wasn’t even a fair fight. Around 7,000 English troops landed on Jamaica, after being defeated in their bid to take the island of Hispaniola. In their retreat they stopped off at Jamaica, found only 2,500 people on the whole island, killed the few Spaniards that were there, then claimed the island as a new British colony.
Of all the British West Indian slave colonies, by the late 1700s, Jamaica stood out as a cauldron of unspeakable violence, depravity and cruelty toward African slaves. The sewers of Britain opened up to disgorge the worthless to its fledging colonies. England needed bodies to colonise these lands and were not overly concerned about who went, as long as large numbers quickly settled before anyone else did.
For many negro slaves it was their sad misfortune to end up being owned by the misfits, the violent and the depraved of Great Britain.
No act was more depraved toward the slave than the sexual violence meted out to everyone, including men, but especially to negro women and children.
In plain speak, negro female slaves, who were chosen to be the house bed wench, were forced into sexual servitude by their masters. Coarse and licentious slave masters literally held the life of these nameless women in their hands. They could do with them as they pleased, because in the eyes of the law, all slaves, including the house bed wench, were property.
Often disgusted with themselves for having relations with a negro, white masters would take out their inward shame on the slave. This usually took the form of beatings, subjected to extra hard labour in the fields in order that they should die early or selling them off to another master. Out of sight, out of mind.
Jamaica was a sugar producer and a particularly brutal place for enslaved Africans. The death rate among plantation slaves, in Jamaica, rivalled that of Haiti. Masters were especially violent in order to meet sugar export demands for England. Concomitant with the physical violence, was heat of the Jamaican plantation fields and the near hell like temperatures of the sugar processing rooms. All of it combined killed African slaves in untold and unrecorded numbers.
In June 1786, in Kingston, Jamaica, a coarse and licentious slave owner, Mr. George Geddes, had been making some of his female slaves, his house bed wenches. This had been going on for some time.
His wife strenuously objected to this.
Her haranguing to him about one negro woman in particular in 1786, drove George Geddes, to do unspeakable things one night, just to shut his wife up.
Geddes did these things to appease Mrs. Geddes. The husband surmised that if he disfigured his favourite bed wench, then his wife would have nothing more to nag him about.
Apparently though, this wasn’t the first time Mr. George Geddes had taken a sharp knife to the face of a female slave property.