Cyril Packwood was a librarian with a passion for history. He was the author of Chained on the Rock, the first definitive account of slavery in Bermuda.
Published in 1975, Chained on the Rock shed light on an important aspect of Bermuda’s history that had previously been swept under the carpet.
He spent most of his professional life in New York. He worked in the New York Public Library system from 1957 to 1968 and from 1968 to 1985, at the Borough of Manhattan Community College Library, where he was supervising librarian.
In 1985, he was appointed head librarian of the Bermuda Library, the first black person to hold the position.
His other books included Detour Bermuda, Destination U.S. House of Representative: The Life of Joseph Rainey, about the former slave who took refuge in Bermuda during the American Civil War, and went on to become the first black member of the House of Representatives.
The first Portuguese immigrants, 58 in all, arrived in Bermuda aboard the Golden Rule. They came from the island of Madeira although subsequent arrivals would come primarily from the Azores.
The 58, who were contracted to employers in various parts of the Island, comprised 35 men, 16 women and seven children. The youngest was nine-years-old, and the oldest was 46. The journey, the cost of which was subsidized by the Bermuda government, took 21 days.
The Royal Gazette report of their arrival on November 6, 1849 said: “We sincerely trust this importation of labourers will answer the end contemplated; and we hope they will be the means of inducing the cultivation of the vine more extensively than at present.”
One year, after the arrival of the Golden Rule, the community was celebrating its first birth. Maurice Terceira, son of Ignacio and Maria Terceira, was baptised at St. Mary’s Church, Warwick on November 24, 1850. Four couples were also married the same year.
Source: Portuguese Bermudians—An Early History and Reference Guide, 1848-1949, by Patricia Marirea Mudd.
The brigantine Golden Rule bringing the first Portugese emigrants to Bermuda in 1849. Painting by Stephen Card.