Caribbean Studies

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TO WHAT EXTENT CAN IT BE ARGUED THAT GENOCIDE AND REVOLUTION ARE CENTRAL THEMES IN CARIBBEAN HISTORY? [30mks] Throughout the history of the conquest and the colonization period in Caribbean history, individuals and groups sought freedom from oppression which manifested itself in central themes of Caribbean history: genocide and revolution. These themes were discussed prior to the beginning of the colonization period which dated back to the 1783s, the period of the encomienda system to emancipation, indentureship and independence in 1962. The system known as the encomienda system was on within which the Spanish monarchs decided that the native population should be divided up amongst the Spaniards, who had the right to exact from them some form of tribute such as produce, gold and service in return for religious instruction in the Roman Catholic faith. These indigenous people included the Tainos and the Kalinagos who were treated as slaves and put to work in the mines. The Tainos, being unaccustomed to these harsh punishment, hunger, overwork and the European diseases such as cholera and small pox which were new to their immune systems, caused them to die quickly and also commit suicide thus resulting in the central theme of Genocide. However, even though some of the Kalinagos died out, since they were the more aggressive tribe and who were warrior material, survived longer because of their strength resulting in the theme of revolution also, because the Kalinagos took most of the Tainos’ women with whom they bred. The Tainos cultural aspects still lives however, not many of the Tainos were able to retain theirs since their cultural identity got absorbed and lost in that of the Kalinagos. After the Encomienda system, the Europeans introduced the plantation society which was based on the cultivation of sugar within which African slaves were used for labour. During this period of colonization, the Europeans used slavery as a means to shaping the lives of Africans by...
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