Runaway Virgins by Enrique Corneiro

Last year Kristina Lamour Sansone got in contact with me about eighteenth century St. Croix printing house of Daniel Thibou. She refered to eighteenth century slave ads, and this immediately got my attention. In 2018 Enrique F. Corneiro published his book Runaway Virgins, Danish West Indian Slave Ads. It consists of 112 pages filled with ads which were published in newspapers on the Danish Westindies between 1770 and 1848.

In 31 sections all kinds of information is presented, from important persons, to black slave owners, from slave revolts to demographic information. From quite interesting to very shocking: the book is filled with illustrations, pictures of advertisements related to the trade of enslaved people, but also to searching and finding of runaway slaves.

It brings the period of slavery very close to the reader and I recommend you to look at the illustrations and imagine what really happened to the people who are mentioned in the ads.

These texts appeared also to be of interest for Creolistics and historical sociolinguistics since in several ads the language competence of the runaway slaves is mentioned. See for instance the picture of the back of the book. The first person, a mulatto fellow, speaks English, French, Spanish and Creole Dutch. The second one, from St. Croix, speaks English and Creole Dutch. We hardly have any information about the language competence, so this metalinguistic information is asking for a closer look!

The ad is from The Royal Danish American Gazette, November 6, 1776. It is the oldest newspaper in the Danish Westindies. See page 25 and the the back of: Corneiro, Enrique F. (2018) Runaway Virgins, Danish West Indian Slave Ads 1770-1848. Richmond (Texas): Triple E Enterprise. 112 p.

See: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rcorneiro/

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