Just south of America's oldest permanent city, St. Augustine, Florida, lie the ruins of the largest colony the English attempted to establish in the New World. New Smyrna was established in 1768 by 1,400 indentured servants; immigrating from the Mediterranean countries of Italy, Greece and the... read more
With the dark cloud of slavery tarnishing our nations past, most Americans are unaware that they are likely descendents of enslaved stock. During certain periods of our nations history, as many as eighty percent of the arriving immigrants were indentured, bonded or redemptioners. Prior to... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
With the dark cloud of slavery tarnishing our nations past, most Americans are unaware that they are likely descendents of enslaved stock. During certain periods of our nations history, as many as eighty percent of the arriving immigrants were indentured, bonded or redemptioners. Prior to 1654, even African slaves arrived upon our shores as indentured servants, able to obtain freedom if they could survive the terms of indentureship. As many as forty percent of our nation's immigrants perished under the brutal conditions of slavery before they could realize the freedom they sought.
The Minorcan Yoke is the story of one such group of Minorcan, Greece and Italian slaves brought to our shores in 1768, to found a new colony. Fourteen hundred men, women and children struggled to survive a brutal existence in the largest English colony to fail in America, New Smyrna. Like others before them, most would perish under the brutal hand of a tyrant.
Upon receiving a land grant in the newly acquired Florida territory, Scottish Doctor Andrew Turnbull, on behalf of his partners, one of which is George Grenville, Prime Minister of England, sets out to recruit indentured servants from hardy Mediterranean stock. With Greek and Italian laborers as a goal, because they are ideally suited for Florida’s humid climate, the doctor finds few takers and much resistance filling his quota of five hundred immigrants.
With the Balearic Island of Minorca set as the disembark point, Dr. Turnbull arrives disappointed in his efforts knowing he is far short of his desired number of bondsmen and expenses are mounting. Fortunately the doctor finds many of the local population willing to join his adventure and the Minorcans quickly swell the ranks.
As the caravan of ships arrives in Gibraltar, problems begin. Discovering stowaways, the number of immigrants comes to a staggering fourteen hundred individuals. The doctor also learns that two of his hired vessels will not continue and he scrambles to find replacements.
Upon arriving in New Smyrna, Florida, the immigrants find life not as it was promised. The Greek colonist, led by a few ruthless men, revolt and attempt to escape; endangering the lives of many until the Royal Navy intervenes.
During the course of the nine turbulent year odyssey, young master carpenter, Don Francisco Pellicer and his fellow colonist endure brutality, starvation, domination, love, marriage, rivalry, pirates, rebellion, hangings, murder, deadly weather, diseases and death. Through the hardships, more than half of the colonists perish.
The six hundred remaining soles would find their savior in the real life hero, Don Francisco Pellicer when he risks his life by escaping to seek help from the governor in St. Augustine. He then returns to the colony to lead the survivors of the ill-fated endeavor to their freedom.
The Minorcan Yoke is a fascinating novel that allows the reader to behold the hardships and tragedies of our indentured ancestors while they pioneered the dawn of our nation.
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