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Thomas Thistlewood


Thomas Thistlewood (16 March 1721 ‒ 30 November 1786) was a British citizen who migrated to the western end of the Colony of Jamaica where he became a plantation overseer and owner of land, property, and slaves. His diary is considered an important historical document chronicling the history of Jamaica and slavery during the 18th century. He is also known for keeping a detailed account of the treatments of his slaves as well as his sexual relationships with them.

Known as ''The Diary of Thomas Thistlewood'', Thistlewood's 14,000-page diary provides a detailed record of his life and deep insight into plantation life from agricultural techniques to slave–owner relations.

Thistlewood was self-educated and a prolific reader for his time and even more so in British colonial society. He often practiced medicine on his slaves, though some of his practices, like those of the European doctors in Jamaica, were questionable. He was also knowledgeable in botany and horticulture. He bought and read a number of books about religion, husbandry, and estate management, and he watched and marvelled at the appearance of Halley's Comet in 1759.
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