A research essay on the history of the Caribbean

Published under category: Academic Paper Writing | 2015-05-06 22:55:44 UTC

Context: History

The Caribbean is a geographical region that comprises of more than 700 islands including the Caribbean Sea. These islands are usually regarded as a subpart of Northern America. They are organized into thirty territories. The United States foreign policy brought the region under one umbrella. However, there are varying distinctions that dispute homogenizing the Caribbean region. One of the contentious issues is determining whether to label the region as Africanized or Europeanized. As Marco Meniketti points out, it would be incorrect to define the region by bounded space or as a social body that came about as a result of mutual experiences of slavery and colonialism. This paper seeks to explore this region in terms of culture, colour, colonies, indentureship and African enslavement and the political fragmentation of the Caribbean. It was not until the discovery of the new world by Christopher Colombus did European settlers start arriving in the Caribbean. The indigenous inhabitants were the Ciboney, Caribs and Arawaks. There was a major contention who owned the Caribbean being sparked from a declaration by the Spanish that they were the legitimate owners. Other European nations such as Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain and France poured in by the numbers in a bid to claim a piece of the marvelous region. The local indigenous population was gradually wiped out and these foreigners started to re shape the region’s culture. They later introduced African slaves to labour in their sugar plantations. The African slave trade, early European colonialists and the native Indian tribes inhabiting the region are known to have largely influenced the culture of the Caribbean to what it is depicted today. Each of the islands has its own distinct cultural identity. The inimitable physical landscape of the region as well as its climate, influence the local music, attitudes, architecture and customs. Islands such as the Barbados and Aruba have extensively retained the British customs. Other islands for example, Jamaica, have distanced themselves from the colonial influence and instead fostered their pre-colonial heritage. In Jamaica, the local residents range from Rastafarians to English aristocrats who all embrace the local customs and national heritage of the democratic state. Islands once colonized by the Dutch, for example, Aruba and those that make up the U.S Virgin Islands, discarded their original colonial customs to exude today an American feel. The island of Puerto Rico has adapted both Spanish and American cultures. It stands as one of the most developed and modernized in the region. Despite the evidence of African heritage in the island of Guadeloupe, the French who were the former colonial power influence its culture to a wide extent today. The region’s history heavily influences the food and local music. The cuisines for example draw a significant influence from African and colonial cultures. The African slaves were determined to preserve their original traditions and thus maintained their African diet. This led to the widespread of the Caribbean spices in the African influenced diet. The popular local genres of music are influenced by the Caribbean history. They mostly find their origins in the islands of Trinidad, Jamaica and Haiti. Slavery and indentureship was the main reason behind the diversification of the Caribbean culture. This indentureship system persisted from 1838-1917. It comprised of various ethnic groups, which were East Indians, Chinese and white labourers. The indentureship system significantly influenced the Caribbean civilization. In 1839, the initial proscription of indentured Indian immigration happened. It was championed by the actions of the restructured Anti slavery Society which was protesting against the indentureship system. Its major concern was the small number of women who had been permitted to partake in the migration as compared to the men. In 1844, India lifted it indentureship ban and a decree was passed that declared that at least 12 % of the emigrants comprise of women. In 1845, those emigrants who migrated into Trinidad comprised of 227 Indian labourers. 21 of these were women. The indentureship system was organized via two emigration agents. These oversaw the staffing, protection and transportation of the immigrants from their country to the colonies. There were agents stationed in each recruiting territory who oversaw the registration and the assignment of the immigrants to various estates. They were also charged with seeing to it that the immigrants were well taken care of by their employers. The East Indians settled into Trinidad, Martinique, Guyana and other regions. They helped boost the economy as they helped rejuvenate the sugar industry, which was the main revenue earner for these islands. The aftermath of the indentureship system was the remnants of the Indian culture which to date is still visible among the Caribbean people. To date, Hosay and Divali, which are Indian festivals are celebrated among the Indian-Jamaican population. In addition, the national cuisine also incorporates the Indian foods for example, callaloo and curry goat. Ventures into craft, retail trade and agriculture were brought by the East Indians. Their jewellery designs are also seen to have penetrated into the Jamaican culture and continue to be a commonplace practice to date. In conclusion, the Caribbean is one of the most intriguing places on the planet. The group of islands that form the Caribbean all owe their cultures and customs to the colonial powers that once colonized them. There is also great influence of the culture by the African and Indian labourers that were brought in to work in the sugar plantations. Nevertheless, the indigenous natives also played a key role in shaping the culture to what it is viewed as today. Caribbean has developed to become a tourist destination owing to its unique scenery and architecture. Tourism is the main industry bringing in revenue for the islands today. ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER

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