Richard Ligon (1585 - 1662) was an English businessman, author, polymath, and rake. Ligon was born into an elite royalist family, but lost his fortunes in the English Civil War (1642 - 1651). Ligon was 'the fourth son of a third son' and so inherited 'a respectable name but diluted fortune.' (Parker 39-40). Mired in debt and beset on all side by enemies, Ligon determined to make his fortune in the New World. In 1647, at 60 years of age, he left for the colony of Barbados, acquiring a half-share in a sugar plantation. After two years in the tropical climate, he acquired a persistent fever - likely malaria -, returning to England to recover. Back home, he was immediately arrested by his creditors. While in prison, he complied his notes from Barbados into an important work, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes, featuring the first specific map of that island. The work was popular, and published in 1657 and again in 1673, before being translated into French for a 1674 edition. The work provides a valuable first-person perspective on the Caribbean sugar trade, the early days of the Sugar Revolution, and 17th century European life in the West Indies.

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