Topic ID #40504 - posted 12/20/2018 3:07 PM

The Other Puritan Colony: Providence Island, Colombia - Summer 2019 - Institute for Field Research


Program Overview:

English settlers colonized Providence Island in 1629 one year after the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in what was to become the United States, but the two colonies ultimately had very different historical trajectories. From 1629-1630, colonists, under the direction of the Providence Island Company, constructed a town, New Westminster, and several forts. Before the Spanish captured the colony in 1641, Providence Island was home to English indentured servants, African slaves sold or taken from Dutch and Spanish ships, Miskito Indians from the Spanish Main, Pequot Indians from Massachusetts, and English and Dutch pirates. Many of the original inhabitants stayed on the Island and their descendants continue to live and work on Providence to this day.

Around 1836, it became clear that the Island would not have enough agricultural productivity to sustain the population. Thus, as an economic supplement, the London-based directors of the Providence Island Company approved the conduct of piracy against Spanish ships and mainland settlements. In the 1670s (after the Spanish left), Providence became a base for English pirates, including the infamous Henry Morgan. Shortly after Colombian independence (1810), Colombia and Nicaragua both attempted claims on the Island territory. The issue was settled by treaty in 1928, officially ceding Providence, and its neighbor Island, San Andrés, to Colombia.

Providence Island’s Puritan original settlement –and subsequent population movement from flat coastal areas into the mountainous interior over the past 490 years– is completely unknown archaeologically, though extensive historical and documentary records exist. The 2019 field season centers on the first-ever archaeological research on Providence Island with the goal of investigating the material, temporal, historical, and spatial aspects of the interactions on this small, yet highly multicultural, western Caribbean island.

Course Details

  • Dates:June 22 - July 19, 2019
  • Field School Director: Dr. Tracie Mayfield
  • Tuition:$4,880
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credits from Connecticut College
  • Application Process: Rolling, first-come, first-serve
  • Payment Deadline: April 5, 2019

Students and faculty will be housed in Posada Enilda Bed and Breakfast located in the south of the Island in an area called Bottom House. This posada is a fully modern facility with air conditioning, dining room, and other amenities, such as air-conditioning, in-room safes, and personal refrigerators, and is extremely comfortable. The husband and wife owners are excited about hosting the students. Security cameras monitor the grounds and the main gate is locked at night. Providence is a safe island, with little serious crime.

The owners of Posada Enilda will provide breakfast, every day, and lunch, Monday through Saturday, which will be served in the field or in the dining area at Posada Enilda. Dinners (and lunches on Sundays) will not be prepared and provided by the Project, but Posada Enilda serves large, economical dinners and restaurants and grocery stores are available on the Island where students can purchase meals. Food borne illness will be minimized by drinking only bottled water. The owners of the Posada can meet most dietary needs (vegetarians, vegans, and lactose intolerant), other than Kosher.

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Applications are completed online. Students are accepted on a rolling, first-come, first-serve basis. Please visit the IFR website and explore our scholarshipsQuestions about our programs or admissions? Please contact the IFR team at or give us a call: (424) 209 1173 ext. 100. 


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