Unless otherwise indicated, all OI books are distributed by The University of North Carolina Press.

Jamaica Ladies

Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain's Atlantic Empire

Christine Walker

Cloth: 978-1-4696-5526-0 ($90.00)
Paper: 978-1-4696-5879-7 ($22.95)

Copyright 2020
University of North Carolina Press

A Prize-Winning Book

  • Best Book Award, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women & Gender (2020)


"Jamaica Ladies is an outstanding study of gender and power in early British Jamaica, original and frequently startling in its evidence and arguments. Focusing on free and freed 'handmaidens of empire,' it reveals a world in which women cemented slavery at the heart of colonial economies and societies."

--Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, University of California, Davis

“Building on extensive archival research, Jamaica Ladies is a ground-breaking exploration of African, British, and Jamaican-born women who carved out lives for themselves and others at the center of Britain’s largest slave society. Christine Walker has adeptly shown that we cannot fully comprehend Jamaica unless we understand these free and freed women.”

--Simon Newman, University of Glasgow

“As Christine Walker demonstrates, free and freed women—always reliant on enslaved labor for their commercial and agricultural pursuits and household services—enjoyed personal benefits while both entrenching slavery and challenging the binary distinction between black and white. Jamaica Ladies makes an impressive and innovative contribution to our understanding of the gendering of colonial society.”

--Catherine Hall, University of College London