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HIS294 September 25 - The 'Peopling' of the Caribbean: Settlement, Economy and Society in the Pre-Columbian Era

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Melanie Newton

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HIS294 – September 25, 2012 1 Geography of the Caribbean  37.5 million people are residents of the Caribbean o Not including the diaspora  Circum-Caribbean to express that it's both insular (island) and continental  The Guianas are the only non-Spanish speaking countries in South America o The borders are contenscious because they don't necessarily have any meaning for the people who live there due to the Amazon interior  Politically disputed borders because of the distribution of resources  1969 Rupununi Rebellion o Because Venezuelan lays claim to so much of the Guyana border they extended citizenship to the people in the interior and there was a rebellion among the indigenous people to have Venezuela take control  Between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is the border between the Greater and Lesser Antilles  Saint Dominquie --> Haiti  Santo Domingo --> Dominican Republic o Santo Domingo is the capital, context tells you which one  British Guiana --> Guyana Pre-Colonial Human Settlement  Indigenous peoples in this area are considered so because of their pre-Columbian (i.e. Christopher) heritage  Spanish imperial archives house a lot of accounts that have yet to be looked at because they are so vast  They started out in the Greater Antilles  Taino - name scholars gave to the indigenous people the Spanish encountered in the Greater Antilles in the 1400s o The first Americans that the Spanish encountered o Also called Arawaks  In the Lesser Antilles the process of colonization didn't begin until the 17th century  The earliest consistent accounts are by the French missionaries and the indigenous people are called the Caribs  The "Caribees" was the name that was used to mean the people of the Lesser Antilles  Carib is a term that is now used for the entire Caribbean as of the 18th century  The sources that we have access to are actually a reflection of what the Europeans thought it was not necessarily what it actually was to the people that they were describing o There is no guarantee that the Europeans actually understood the indigenous  There is a reflection of ethnocentrism and political wants of the Europeans  There was a distinction between the peaceful Arawaks and the warlike Caribs HIS294 – September 25, 2012 2 o Colonial trope of good native vs. bad native  The term Arawak is a term for the people who live in the Amazon o Arawakan or Arahuacan languages are spoken widely across the Amazon  In language terms the distinction between the Taino and the Caribs is very small because they both speak a type of Arawakan language  History is written by the powerful and that’s shown through the use of the term Arawak
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