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Ridley and James Walcott, along with their families, are described by the Legacies of British Slavery database as ‘what appears to have been a group of people moving from Demerara to Western Australia c. 1830' [10] Both arrived at Walyalup (Fremantle) aboard the Wanstead on 30 January 1830. [1]
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Ridley was Attorney of Vreed en Hoop ('Peace and Hope') plantation, as well as of Turkeyen and Henrietta. Attorneys had a lot of authority within the Caribbean plantation management system - they were responsible for managing the estates of 'absentee' owners (those who owned plantations but lived elsewhere). By 1832 over 80% of the large sugar plantations had absentee owners, which allowed attorneys to amass considerable wealth. [1] Turkeyen and Henrietta was a major sugar plantation. It was purchased by Liverpool merchant and absentee owner John Gladstone in 1828, and by the time of the emancipation there were 415 enslaved people held there. [6, 1] Slavery heritage of Demerara: Demerara is today part of what is known as Guyana. Some of the earliest settlers of Guyana were Arawak, Carib, and possibly Warao. Although Christopher Columbus sighted the Guyana coast in 1498 and Spain claimed the area, the first Europeans to colonise the land were the Dutch in the late 16th century. In the mid-17th century the Dutch began bringing over enslaved people from West Africa to cultivate sugarcane. From the 1740s, English settlers from Caribbean islands began to move in on the region, first on the island of Wakenaam, then on the coast of Essequibo, followed by Demerara. By 1760, the British were the largest contingent in Demerara. During the Napoleonic wars the British and French in particular fought over the land, but in 1796 the British captured the territories and except for short intervals held 'possession'. In 1831 the British combined Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice to form 'British Guiana'. In 1823 Demerera was the site of one of the greatest uprisings of enslaved people in history: the 1823 Demerara rebellion involved over 10,000 enslaved people and was crucial in the dismantling of Caribbean slave systems. [1]
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