In the 18th and 19th Century, the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines produced large amounts of coffee and sugar, which enriched British imperial coffers. The digitisation of the historical archives allows future research into the colonial and post-colonial history of the island.
St Vincent and the Grenadines were bought by Britain in 1763. The islands, rich in coffee and sugar, became a centre of slave labour for 70 years. The archives of Saint Vincent document the history of the island under the British control. The Deed Books, Power of Attorney and Wills dated between the 1760s and 1880s allow the research into the social, economic and legal history of St Vincent and the Grenadines. However, the records are fragile and consultation is rarely allowed.
The archives are in danger because of the poor storage conditions, which combined with the humid environment on the island and the existing damage to the volumes create an immediate risk of losing the material.
Stemming from two investigations in 2011 and 2014, the project digitised records pertaining to the slavery era and its immediate aftermath. The project digitised 20 volumes of Deed Books, four volumes of Wills and 11 volumes of Power of Attorney, along with Secretary Journals and Registers of birth, marriage and burials. The documents dated between 1765 and 1880. While the original material remains in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines National Archives, the archives are now accessible online.