How Landscape Has Shaped Settlement Patterns in the Past

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Physical landscape shaping or influencing settlement pattern in the Caribbean is no new phenomena. Its occurrence has long persisted from the prominence of the Amerindians to present day societies, transcending cultural groups and races. The idea of physical landscape shaping settlement pattern is simple, people seek reason to settle and this reason for many is the physical landscape and how it may be used to their benefit. This essay seeks to capture the pervasive influence of physical landscape in shaping settlement pattern in the Caribbean.

It is important to start at the inception of Caribbean history, a juncture in time where groups from the Asian continent migrated into the Americas in search of food which had eluded them during the 4th ice age. As they migrated they met upon undiscovered and untouched lands, abundant in resources. From the onset of their migration some began settling. The North American continent is one in which afforded with large expanses of flat lands suitable for a sedentary lifestyle. Those who that lifestyle appealed to settled in North America, started rearing animals and farming a plot of land and established permanent or semi-permanent settlements. The rest pressed on southwards making their way into Central America. Central America is so fitted with mountainous terrains and rivers that it proved suitable for the Amerindians who not only desired a sedentary lifestyle but one in which they were somewhat protected against enemy attack. Plateaus were prime locations for settlements in Central America as it provided the best of both worlds; protection but also land apt for cultivation of varying degree. Hence plateaus were characterized by a rich density of Amerindians. Rivers were a major component of life for these people as they were exceedingly dependent on it for irrigational, recreational as well as transportation purposes. Migration didn’t cease or halt in Central America. The Amerindians continued pressing onwards and in...
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