LEEWARD ISLANDS

 

British Leeward Islands

1671-1956

 

The colony of the Leeward Islands existed since 1671, and consisted of Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Saint Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands. Sir William Stapleton established the first federation of the British West Indies in 1674. He set up a General Assembly of the Leeward Islands in St. Kitts. His federation was active from 1674 to 1685 when Stapleton was Governor and the General Assembly met regularly until 1711.

Walter Douglas, Governor of the Leeward Islands from 1710-’16 bore:

 

Arms of Walter Douglas [1]

 

Arms: Argent a man’s heart Gules imperially crowned Or on a chief Azure three mullets of the field.

Crest: A dexter arm in armoury embowed swinging a sword per fess.

Motto: SAPIENTIA ETVIRTUS

 

By the 18th Century each island had kept its own Assembly and made its own laws, but continued to share one Governor and one Attorney-General. Stapleton's Federation was never really dissolved but simply replaced by other arrangements.

From this time there is an achievement of the Leeward Islands known. It shows a bay and a ship. It is crowned with a naval crown and is surrounded  by British flags.

 

Achievement of the Leeward Islands 1782

Entitled:  Signals to be observed in sailing and fighting by his Majesty's squadron on the Leeward Island Station Captian Charrington Ajax February 1782. (Coll. John Carter Brown Library, Brown University)

 

Between 1816 and 1833 the Leewards were divided into two groups, each with its own Governor: St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla and Antigua-Barbuda-Montserrat.

For these groups and the other British posessions in the Caribbean the royal achievement, the royal arms and the symbol of the Admiralty were in force. This can be seen on coins minted in 1822, showing the royal arms and a crowned anchor.

In 1958 the British Leeward Islands were united with the British Windward Islands into the short living  West Indies Federation (1958 - 1962).

 

Photo N.N.

 

In 1833 all the Leeward Islands were brought together and in 1896 Dominica was added to the grouping until 1940.

In 1869, Governor Benjamin Pine was assigned the task of organizing a federation of Antigua-Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. St. Kitts and Nevis however opposed sharing their government funds with Antigua and Montserrat, which were bankrupt. Governor Pine told the Colonial Office that the scheme had failed due to “local prejudice and self-interest”.

 

Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands

1871-1956

 

In 1871 the British government passed the Leeward Islands Act through which all the islands were under one Governor and one set of laws. Each island was called “Presidency” under its own Administrator or Commissioner. All laws and ordinances, however, had to be approved by the each island council. The federation was not dissolved until 1956 to make way for the Federation of the West Indies. The Federal Colony was composed of all islands organized under Governor Pine's previous attempt.

 

The badge of the colony was placed on the red ensign. On the flag of the governor the badge was encircled by a garland.

 

The pineapples are known from the much older arms of Jamaica. They may also refer to the first Governor of the Federal Colony, Sir Benjamin Chilley Campbell Pine (1871-‘73) who is said to have been the designer of the badge.

 

       

 

Badge: A representation of a bay running into hilly country. On the foreground a full-rigged ship, and in the middle distance another ship, of half his tonnage, but drawn to twice the scale. On the edge of the shore are four pineapples. At the top is the royal achievement crowned with the crown of St. Edward. After WWII the crown was replaced by the Imperial State Crown (badge on the right).

 

On 10 April 1909 arms were granted to the colony. The Caribbean is represented by a barry wavy of Azure and Argent. On the waves the islands of the Colony are represented by their arms. On the shield is a crown with the pineapple borrowed from the badge.

Arms: Barry wavy of eight pieces Azure and Argent, six escutcheons 2, 2 and 2 with the arms of Antigua, Dominica, St.Christopher, Nevis, Montserrat and the Virgin Islands respectively.

Crest: On a crown of three leaves, a pineapple proper.

By Royal Warrant, 10.04.1909

 

After the secession of Dominica in 1940 the arms of that island were omitted.

 

Arms: Barry wavy of eight pieces Azure and Argent, five escutcheons 1, 2 and 2 with the arms of Antigua, St.Christopher, Nevis, Montserrat and the Virgin Islands respectively.

Crest: On a crown of three leaves, a pineapple proper.

 

š See illustration in the head of this essay

 

Police

 

Leeward Police Badge [2]

 

 

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© Hubert de Vries 2010-02-19. Updated 2011-11-08; 2015-04-14

 

 



[1] From: A New and exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on y continent of North America. Herman Moll, 1715

[2] http://hamwichouse.com/book3/files/ha4412.html