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Swedish Freemasonry on St Barthémely around 1800: The Complex History of Transatlantic Fraternalism

Chapter in book
Authors Andreas Önnerfors
Published in Freemasons in the Transatlantic World / ed. John S. Wade
Pages 63–71
ISBN 978-0-85318-564-2
Publisher Lewis
Place of publication London
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 63–71
Language en
Keywords Caribbean, Freemasonry, eighteenth-century, Swedish history
Subject categories Other Humanities, History


For most historians of European colonialism, particularly the Caribbean, it comes as a surprise that Sweden ever was involved in colonial adventures on the other side of the Atlantic. The volcanic island of St. Barthélemy is part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles. In 1784 it was presented to the Swedish crown as a gift from France, most likely in exchange for Sweden’s loyalty in relationship to support for US independence. Sweden was the second country after France to recognize the USA diplomatically and Swedish soldiers fought together with French forces in the war of independence against the British. St. Barthélemy remained a Swedish possession until 1878. However small a piece in the overall puzzle St. Barthélemy might appear, it might provide with significant evidence for the development of rituals and organizational culture of freemasonry on this side of the Atlantic.

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