Education, Material Culture, and Coming of Age in Eighteenth-Century British Jamaica

Chloe Aubra Northrop


Scholars in the past have ignored colonial children and their adolescence in imperial locations. However, by overlooking young people, historians have disregarded the experience of a large percentage of the colonial population. In colonial locations such as the West Indies, many rich young white children traveled to England for their education and had unique experiences as colonial youths attempting to assimilate into metropolitan culture. They became internal “others” themselves; however, these school-aged children demonstrated their British nationality by embracing the material culture of the metropole. Sources such as the Brodbelt Family Correspondence reveal the lives of young women such as Jane and Nancy Brodbelt. These imperial girls traveled to England for their education, yet they retained connections with their colonial homeland. As a case study, the experiences of these young women can help us understand colonial society and maturation during the long eighteenth century.

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