For Tortola: Quakers, Lonsdale merchants and West Indies 1750-1850 by Dr Mike Winstanley.

In Feb 2018, Mike showed how important the West Indies trade with Britain was in that period. Lancaster and Liverpool were important ports but direct colonial trade was more important to Lancaster than the slave trade as many ships went via the Canary Islands rather than Africa.

There were many roles involved in the West Indian trade, which was considered both a risky and prosperous business. Various Quaker families from the Cartmel and Furness areas were involved in some capacity, connected to others through marriage or business.

Quakerism was introduced to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, by James Birkett of Cartmel Fell, in the 1750s and there was a strong trading relationship between Lancaster and Tortola with materials for supporting a community going one way and sugar and cotton returning. The Rawlinson family originally from Rusland were more influential than most.

Mike supported his fascinating talk with various research materials including letters, census, shipping registers, muster rolls, photographs, invoices and newspapers.

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