Earthquakes have been documented in the northeastern Caribbean since the arrival of Columbus to the Americas; written accounts of these felt earthquakes exist in various parts of the world. To better understand the earthquake cycle in the Caribbean, the records of earthquakes in earlier catalogs and historical documents from various archives, which are now available online, were critically examined. This report updates previous catalogs of earthquakes, in particular earthquakes in Hispaniola, to give to the public the most comprehensive documentation of earthquake damage and to further the understanding of the earthquake cycle in the northeastern Caribbean.
Documentation of an event in the past depended on the population and political trends of the island, and the availability of historical documents is limited by the physical resource digitization schedule and by the copyright laws of each archive. Examples of documents accessed are governors' letters, newspapers, and other circulars published within the Caribbean, North America, and Western Europe. Key words were used to search for publications that contain eyewitness accounts of various large earthquakes. Finally, this catalog provides descriptions of damage to buildings used in previous studies for the estimation of moment intensity (MI) and location of significantly damaging or felt earthquakes in Hispaniola and in the northeastern Caribbean, all of which have been described in other studies.