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Cover for Architecture and Empire in Jamaica

Architecture and Empire in Jamaica

Louis P. Nelson


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Through Creole houses and merchant stores to sugar fields and boiling houses, Jamaica played a leading role in the formation of both the early modern Atlantic world and the British Empire. Architecture and Empire in Jamaica offers the first scholarly analysis of Jamaican architecture in the long 18th century, spanning roughly from the Port Royal earthquake of 1692 to Emancipation in 1838. In this richly illustrated study, which includes hundreds of the author’s own photographs and drawings, Louis P. Nelson examines surviving buildings and archival records to write a social history of architecture.
Nelson begins with an overview of the architecture of the West African slave trade then moves to chapters framed around types of buildings and landscapes, including the Jamaican plantation landscape and fortified houses to the architecture of free blacks. He concludes with a consideration of Jamaican architecture in Britain. By connecting the architecture of the Caribbean first to West Africa and then to Britain, Nelson traces the flow of capital and makes explicit the material, economic, and political networks around the Atlantic. 

Praise For Architecture and Empire in Jamaica

Won an Honorable Mention in the Architecture & Urban Planning category for the 2017 American Publishers Awards for Professional & Scholarly Excellence (PROSE).

Winner of the 2017 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize given by the Foundation for Landscape Studies.
— John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize

Winner of the 2017 Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize given by the Vernacular Architecture Forum.
— Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize

Yale University Press, 9780300211009, 324pp.

Publication Date: March 15, 2016

About the Author

Louis P. Nelson is professor of architectural history and associate dean for research in the School of Architecture, University of Virginia.