The Barbadian newspaper covers the transition from the colonial, pre-modern to the modern era. The archives will enable scholars to trace the transition from the “news” being told from the perspective of the minority white-colonial enslavers to that of the black majority.
The Barbadian, the second oldest newspaper kept in the Barbados Archives, covers a defining period in Barbados’s history: the years surrounding the abolition of slavery, the emancipation (1834) and the years following the end of the apprenticeship system (1838). The newspaper depicts the struggles of the emancipated black minority striving to build a new life. Covering the 50th anniversary of the Bussa’s Rebellion (1816), the newspaper collects the memories of people who participated, recovering the history of the rebellion from the position of the enslaved.
Though the Barbados Archive offers stable storage conditions, in the past The Barbadian was kept in environmentally harsh conditions, which have rendered the paper brittle. With the increase of hurricanes and floods in the region, the newspaper is at great risk of being destroyed.
Stemming from a previous project which digitised The Barbados Mercury Gazette, the project digitised 34 volumes published between 1822 and 1861. The project reinforced the skills gained by the Archive staff and trained two new members. The digital copies are now available at the Barbados Department of Archives, the British Library and at the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLoc.com).