Feature Article

English-speaking Caribbean: From Colonies to Community

Introduction | The Colonial Period | The Political Traditions | The Road to Independence | The High Road to the Caribbean Community | The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

The Commonwealth-speaking Caribbean islands or States have a common history: they have been influenced by the phenomena of colonialism, slavery and indentureship and consequently have produced societies which are multiethnic and multicultural in nature. These countries, it is now commonly agreed, were first settled by the indigenous Indians and visited by Christopher Columbus as early as 1492. This marked the beginning of the European invasion and domination of the Americas. The Spanish first came and they were swiftly followed by the Portuguese, the English and the French. The intrusion of the Europeans is said to have had a negative impact on the evolution of these societies and linked them to the Atlantic Ocean in a way that would have a similar impact on their history. The physical environment was significantly altered, the indigenous population reduced and new foods and diseases introduced into this part of the world. It must be noted that although the indigenous populations were reduced they were to leave a major cultural impact on the entire region to this day. » Read more

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