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The Caribbean

A History of the Region and Its Peoples

Combining fertile soils, vital trade routes, and a coveted strategic location, the islands and surrounding continental lowlands of the Caribbean were one of Europe’s earliest and most desirable colonial frontiers. The region was colonized over the course of five centuries by a revolving cast of Spanish, Dutch, French, and English forces, who imported first African slaves and later Asian indentured laborers to help realize the economic promise of sugar, coffee, and tobacco. The Caribbean: A History of the Region and Its Peoples offers an authoritative one-volume survey of this complex and fascinating region.

This groundbreaking work traces the Caribbean from its pre-Columbian state through European contact and colonialism to the rise of U.S. hegemony and the economic turbulence of the twenty-first century. The volume begins with a discussion of the region’s diverse geography and challenging ecology and features an in-depth look at the transatlantic slave trade, including slave culture, resistance, and ultimately emancipation. Later sections treat Caribbean nationalist movements for independence and struggles with dictatorship and socialism, along with intractable problems of poverty, economic stagnation, and migrancy.

Written by a distinguished group of contributors, The Caribbean is an accessible yet thorough introduction to the region’s tumultuous heritage which offers enough nuance to interest scholars across disciplines. In its breadth of coverage and depth of detail, it will be the definitive guide to the region for years to come.

624 pages | 71 halftones, 2 figures, 1 table | 7 x 10 | © 2011

History: General History



Los Angeles Times

“This collection provides an engaging introduction to the history of a region defined by centuries of colonial domination and popular struggle. In these essays readers will recognize the Caribbean as a garden of social catastrophe and a grim incubator of modern global capitalism, as well as of people’s continuous attempts to resist, endure, or adapt to it. Scholars and students will find it to be a very useful handbook for current thinking on a vital topic.”

Vincent Brown, professor of history and of African and African American studies, Duke University

“A welcome collection of state-of-the-art contributions by prominent scholars of the Caribbean, discussing a broad range of topics from pre-Columbian cultures via plantation slavery and decolonization to the Caribbean diaspora. . . . An excellent and highly readable textbook, surely recommended for teaching Caribbean history.”

J. Oostindie, director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

“This is a remarkable and admirably ambitious collection. The span is overwhelming, for it reaches from physiography and indigenous settlement to today’s economics and politics. . . . The Caribbean: A History of the Region and its Peoples will enable just about any reader—student, scholar, layperson—to learn more about this anciently Europeanized part of the world than he or she knew before.”

Sidney W. Mintz, William L. Straus Jr. Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

"The editors of this volume have successfully assembled a survey of historical and contemporary issues which serves as an excellent introductory text for newcomers to the region, as well as a resource for more experienced researchers searching for a concise reference to any historical period."

Journal of Caribbean History

“Studies that treat the Caribbean as a unified region, although relatively few in number, have been of extraordinary importance in understanding the basic characteristics of the region’s singularly unusual history and inordinately complex culture. . . . The authors, primarily drawn from the fields of history, anthropology, sociology, political science, archaeology, geography and geology, are uniformly outstanding and are highly respected scholars in their fields.”

Franklin W. Knight | Journal of Latin American Studies

Table of Contents

General Maps
Introduction: Caribbean Counterpoints


1 Geographies of Opportunity, Geographies of Constraint
David Barker

2 Contemporary Caribbean Ecologies: The Weight of History
Duncan McGregor

3 The Earliest Settlers
L. Antonio Curet

4 Old World Precedents: Sugar and Slavery in the Mediterranean
William D. Phillips Jr.


5 The Columbian Moment: Politics, Ideology, and Biohistory
Reinaldo Funes Monzote

6 From Tainos to Africans in the Caribbean: Labor, Migration, and Resistance
Jalil Sued- Badillo

7 Negotiations of Conquest
Lynne A. Guitar

8 Toward Sugar and Slavery
Stephan Palmié

9 Masterless People: Maroons, Pirates, and Commoners
Isaac Curtis


10 The Caribbean between Empires: Colonists, Pirates, and Slaves
Josep M. Fradera

11 Imperial Decline, Colonial Adaptation: The Spanish Islands during the Long 17th Century
Francisco A. Scarano

12 The Atlantic Framework of 17th- Century Colonization
Alison Games

13 Servants and Slaves during the 17th- Century Sugar Revolution
Hilary McD. Beckles

14 The French and Dutch Caribbean, 1600– 1800
Philip Boucher

15 Slaves and Tropical Commodities: The Caribbean in the South Atlantic System
Selwyn H. H. Carrington and Ronald C. Noel


16 Slave Cultures: Systems of Domination and Forms of Resistance
Philip Morgan

17 Rivalry, War, and Imperial Reform in the 18th- Century Caribbean
Douglas Hamilton

18 The Haitian Revolution
Laurent Dubois

19 The Abolition of Slavery in the Non- Hispanic Caribbean
Diana Paton

20 Econocide? From Abolition to Emancipation in the British and French Caribbean
Dale Tomich

21 Missionaries, Planters, and Slaves in the Age of Abolition
Jean Besson


22 A Second Slavery? The 19th- Century Sugar Revolutions in Cuba and Puerto Rico
Christopher Schmidt- Nowara

23 Peasants, Immigrants, and Workers: The British and French Caribbean after Emancipation
Gad Heuman

24 War and Nation Building: Cuban and Dominican Experiences
Robert Whitney

25 The Rise of the American Mediterranean, 1846– 1905
Luis Martínez- Fernández

26 The Conundrum of Race: Retooling Inequality
Elizabeth Cooper

27 Africa, Europe, and Asia in the Making of the 20th- Century Caribbean
Aisha Khan


28 Building US Hegemony in the Caribbean
Brenda Gayle Plummer

29 The American Sugar Kingdom, 1898– 1934
César J. Ayala

30 Culture, Labor, and Race in the Shadow of US Capital
Winston James

31 Labor Protests, Rebellions, and the Rise of Nationalism during Depression and War
O. Nigel Bolland

32 Toward Decolonization: Impulses, Processes, and Consequences since the 1930s
Anne S. Macpherson

33 The Caribbean and the Cold War: Between Reform and Revolution
David Sheinin


34 The Long Cuban Revolution
Michael Zeuske

35 Independence and Its Aftermath: Suriname, Trinidad, and Jamaica
Anthony P. Maingot

36 The Colonial Persuasion: Puerto Rico and the Dutch and French Antilles
Humberto García Muñiz

37 An Island in the Mirror: The Dominican Republic and Haiti
Pedro L. San Miguel

38 Tourism, Drugs, Off shore Finance, and the Perils of Neoliberal Development
Robert Goddard

39 Caribbean Migrations and Diasporas
Christine M. Du Bois



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