There were 26, not 13 colonies in British America at the time of the American Revolution. Many of these colonies were in the Caribbean and did not rebel. Why? Great Britain relied heavily on this region for its sugar imports, which generated great wealth for a few Caribbean planters. Unlike the North American colonists, these planters wanted the presence of Royal soldiers among them. They feared rebellion from their enslaved people, who greatly outnumbered them, and relied on the troops for protection. This economically valuable region influenced the outcome of the Revolutionary War as the British shifted naval vessels and troops to the Caribbean to defend these sugar-producing islands against possible attack by the French naval fleet.
Andrew O’Shaughnessy is the Vice President of Monticello, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is a dual citizen of Britain and the United States. After completing his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Oxford University, he taught at Eton College before becoming a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a professor of American history at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he was chair of the History department between 1998 and 2003. He is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000). His most recent book The Men Who Lost America. British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013) received five national awards including the New York Historical Society American History Book Prize and the George Washington Book Prize. He has lectured widely to both scholarly and general audiences including the American Philosophical Society, the Oxford Discovery Programme on board the Queen Mary II and the University of Virginia Continuing Education Program at Colonial Williamsburg. He is an editor of the Jeffersonian American Series of the University of Virginia Press and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.