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By Eric Poplin

2009 Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada

Royal Island, The Bahamas, suffered an attack on private property on 12 September 1814 by crewmen of the American privateer Midas. This raid destroyed all but one building, with the remaining buildings and facilities associated with four plantation settlements all burned. The residents' personal goods and wealth were taken, with most residents fleeing to the bush to save themselves from injury. Even the tomb of the wife of Benjamin Barnett, principal planter on Royal Island, was broken open in search of plunder. Reputedly in retaliation for the burning of Washington, this act prompted a public apology from James Monroe, US Secretary of State, and the revocation of the Midas letter of marquee. Recent archaeological investigations at EL 53 within the Barnett settlement revealed artifacts that appear to be directly related to this raid as well as evidence of the loss and reconstruction of the plantation settlement.


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