The Scots slave owner 'celebrated' for killing a Caribbean national hero

Chief Chatoyer of the Garifuna

Research by Dr Désha Osborne, the 2019 Daiches-Manning Memorial Fellow in 18th- Century Scottish Studies, has been featured in The Scotsman.

He was a Scots slave owner in St Vincent who was celebrated for killing a native leader in a hillside encounter, a bayonet supposedly used to take out the national hero.
Little has been known about Alexander Leith, who at 19 left his poverty-stricken family in Aberdeenshire to take up the offer of land in St Vincent , part of the Ceded Isles handed from the French to the British in 1763.
Now, new research has cast light on Leith and the hundreds of other men and women, mainly from the North East, who ventured to these islands to exploit the booming trade in sugar, slaves and perhaps tobacco and indigo.
Leith, who went on to lead a local militia, was later hailed for killing Chatoyer, leader of the Garifuna people, in 1795 as the Scots sought to increase their territory on the island.
Leith’s memorial in St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Kingstown notes the “distinguished part” he played in the Carib war, with the Carib chief “falling by his hand”.
But for someone so noted in St Vincent history, the story of the man from the Shire who worked as an attorney for plantation owners, owned at least 10 slaves himself and had two sons with an enslaved woman, remained largely elusive.

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