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BETTYS HOPE

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Overview

Betty's Hope was Antigua's pioneer sugar plantation, founded about 1650. It is now in ruin, as so many other West Indian sugar estates. The founder of Betty's Hope was Governor Keynell, whose widow inherited the estate upon his death in 1663, but was forced to flee Antigua during the French occupation in 1666. When Antigua was reoccupied by the British, Parliament annulled all land claims of those who had fled or been disloyal to the Crown prior to the French occupation. Instead, in 1674, Betty's Hope was granted to the Codrington family, then residing in Barbados.

Under the Codrington ownership, lasting until 1944, Betty's Hope was soon transformed into one of the most efficient large-scale sugar estates in Antigua. From 1689 to 1704, two successive Christopher Codringtons served as Governors General of the Leeward Islands, and later heirs continued to be among the most influential and prosperous planters throughout the colonial era.

Like other large plantations, Betty's Hope was an agricultural as well as an industrial enterprise, and home to a large number of people. Supervised by a handful of European managers, hundreds of Africans lived out their lives on this and similar plantations, first as slaves, then as labourers after emancipation in 1834. Enduring the hardship of cultivating and processing the sugar under exhausting conditions, they developed great skills as craftsmen, boilers and distillers which gave Betty's Hope its reputation for excellence lasting to this day.


Location

Bettys Hope is about 10 miles east of St. Johns, and a mile east of Pares Village

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