The True Face of Imperialism
According to Fidel Castro, “If there ever was in the history of humanity an enemy who was truly universal, an enemy whose acts and moves trouble the entire world, threaten the entire world, attack the entire world in any way or another, that real and really universal enemy is precisely imperialism.” From the Neolithic to the Modern Era, Imperialism marks a fundamental human desire that has ravaged civilizations, crumbled empires, and demolished nations. With the dawning of the imperialistic era, fundamental English axiomatic imposition ran rampant and unbridled. Gayatri Spivaks essay “Three Women’s texts and a Critique of Imperialism” and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea analyze the aftermath of unchecked imperialism through the review and perspective narration of Charlotte Bronte’s classic, Jane Eyre. Spivak claims that “it should not be possible to read nineteenth-century British literature without remembering that imperialism, understood as England’s social mission, was a crucial part of the cultural representation of England to the English.” Using these two texts and a vivid comprehension of what imperialism is and how it operates, one is given the key to unlocking the intricate connections between Antoinette’s deflationsary spiral and its imperialistic roots. Unsurprisingly, a simple dictionary definition of imperialism fails to successfully accentuate the breadth of its implications. Imperialism is not only the DEFINTION NEED INTERNET Armed with the knowledge of imperialism, one can begin to investigate the history of British imperialism in the Caribbean and how it relates to Antoinetes difficult childhood. In 1624 Britain established its first permanent Caribbean colony on the island of St. Kitts. Soon their shadow claimed Barbados in 1625, several Leeward Islands during the following years, and Jamaica in 1655 with the iron fist leadership of King Charles. Unfortunately, despite his exploits, King Charles was not so well loved on his home front and eventually parliamentary leader Oliver Cromwell usurped the crown with a bitter civil war that greatly affected Barbados residents. Charles was swiftly defeated and Cromwell ordered his execution and exile to his son. However, British imperialism temporarily won over the blissfully ignorant Barbados population and they proclaimed their allegiance to the exiled prince in the 1650’s.The next 160 years permanently scarred the Caribbean people and resources as Britain violently quelled any insurgence and engaged in numerous battles with France, Spain and the Netherlands in efforts to further expand its Caribbean empire. With the dawn of the terrible Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), also known as the French and Indian War, Jamaica, Barbados and the Leeward Islands served as the British economic epicenter because of the abundance of highly profitable sites for sugar cultivation. The West Indian Lobby (a group of planters and merchants) an extremely influential pressure group in the British Parliament lobbied incessantly to maintain the British stranglehold in the Caribbean. Also, they were prominent advocates for trade in enslaved Africans which represented a profitable business that complemented trade in Caribbean sugar, most of which was actually consumed in Britain. A protected market in Britain helped to assure the profitability of sugar to planters and merchants.
The Africans paid a high cost for sugar production since their life expectancy amounted to seven years after arriving on Caribbean plantations. This is just the beginning of a line of atrocities committed by the British whose imperialistic philosophies excused such inhumane treatment; thus, imperialism and rebellion come hand in hand. Africans resisted slavery through a variety of means, including sabotage of plantations and organized rebellions. Many escaped from bondage and established autonomous “maroon” settlements, especially in Jamaica, where two wars were fought with the British...
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