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Providencia (Providence Island; Old Providence), western Caribbean island, about 440 miles northwest of Cartagena, Colombia, and 110 miles east of Nicaragua. English Puritans of the Providence Company began settling the island in 1629. At first they cultivated tobacco and sugar, but soon many turned to buccaneering. A Spanish fleet expelled the settlers in 1641, but some returned, and it continued to be a buccaneering and privateering base, its population increased by black slaves brought from Jamaica. The Convention of London (1786) recognized Spain's claim to the island, but Providence again became a haven for privateers during the wars for independence, especially for Louis-Michel Aury (1818–1821), when he operated under the flag of Buenos Aires. Colombia claimed the island after independence, and it became a part of the intendancy of San Andrés and Providencia. Its modern economy is based principally on subsistence agriculture and tourism.

See alsoAury, Louis-Michel; Buccaneers and Privateers.


Arthur Percival Newton, The Colonising Activities of the English Puritans (1914).

James J. Parsons. San Andrés y Providencia: Una geografía histórica de las islas colombianas del mar Caribe occidental (1964).

Cecilia De Los Ríos, San Andrés y Providencia, aspectos geográficos (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Lozano Simonelli, Alberto. San Andrés y Providencia, la amenza de Nicaragua: Aspectos jurídicos y políticos de la posición de Colombia. Bogota: Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, 2002.

Rouillard, Patrick, and Walwin G. Peterson B. San Andrés y Providencia. Medellin, Colombia: Editorial Colina, 1990.

Vollmer, Loraine. The History of the Settling Process of the Archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence and St. Catherine. San Andrés, Isla: Ediciones Archipielago, 1997.

Zamora R., Augusto. Intereses territoriales de Nicaragua: San Andrés y Providencia, Cayos, Golfo de Fonseca, Río San Juan. Managua: Fondo Editorial de lo Jurídico, 1995.

                                 Ralph Lee Woodward Jr.

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