Caribbean Diaspora

Topics: Caribbean, Atlantic slave trade, Trinidad and Tobago Pages: 10 (3821 words) Published: October 10, 2012
History Paper on Caribbean Diaspora

Decendents of the Caribbean Diaspora are located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and countries that were previously colonial empires. The inhabited islands that are in the Caribbean are not only geographical regions, but also regions of the imagination, lived cultural experiences and are an interesting study in religious identity as well (Harry:2).” Colonized by European powers from the sixteenth century, the Caribbean islands have become a mixture of cultures from Europe, Africa, and India, as well as from the original inhabitants of the islands. Harry Goulbourne and John Solomos in there article “Ethnic and Racial Studies” says that the “History of the Caribbean has been shaped for a number of centuries now by the economic, social and cultural impact of movement of people across the Atlantic.” Without the migration of individuals to the Caribbean, due to slavery, the making of the Caribbean world would be nonexistent (Harry:2). Emancipation is defined as the various efforts to obtain political rights or equality, often for specifically disfranchised groups. Numerous countries and states have gone through this process during one period of time in their historic accounts.  For the Caribbean Diaspora, this period was also a mark of re-development and re-establishment of economies and societies. Emancipation in the Caribbean was the catalyst for many positive steps in the future but also a setback in humanity with respect to human rights. In this paper one will examine the culture and religion of individuals in the Caribbean such as the Yorùbá People and also will gain knowledge from personal family history in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

Throughout history, the system of slavery is primarily an institution based upon the labor of poor individuals who are forced into harsh working conditions while an elite few reap the benefits of the work of the larger masses. “African slavery in the Caribbean is a late development in the evolution of slavery in human society.” However, for the Caribbean diaspora this all began in the seventeenth century when the European colonization of the Caribbean began to change drastically as exploration gave way to exploitation. With European colonizers looking for ways to fill their pockets, the Caribbean was stormed and eventually flooded with slavery. With the introduction of this new oppression to the world, a major form of organized labor was created which changed the social organization radically in the Caribbean Diaspora (Klein:1). 

As the plantation system began to thrive and expand through the following centuries, the Caribbean became the focus of American slave centers. For instance, Thornton writes in his novel Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800, that “More than half of all the Africans who were transported to the Americas in the eighteenth century went to the island colonies of the Caribbean (Thornton:317)”. With this abundance of slaves arriving in the Caribbean, plantations developed laws to regulate the plantation system and the many slaves imported to work on the plantations. This legal control was the most oppressive for slaves inhabiting colonies where they outnumbered their European masters and where rebellion was persistent. During the early colonial period, rebellious slaves were harshly punished, with sentences including death by torture and less serious crimes such as assault, theft or persistent escape attempts were commonly punished with mutilations, such as the cutting off of a hand or a foot (Thornton:276). Sadly, nothing could help these individuals during this time period because their voice of opinion was robbed from them once they were captured and forced into slavery.

With high mortality rates, controlled lives, hard labor and poor nutrition in the Caribbean Diaspora, the African population slowly started to decrease and the rates...

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Falola, Toyin, and Matt D. Childs. The Yoruba diaspora in the Atlantic world. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. Print.
Harney, Stefano. Nationalism and identity: culture and the imagination in a Caribbean diaspora. Kingston [Jamaica: University of the West Indies ;, 1996. Print.
Harry Goulbourne & John Solomos (2004): The Caribbean Diaspora: Some introductory
remarks, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27:4, 533-543
Klein, Herbert S.. African slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Print.
Lewis, Maureen Warner. Guinea 's other suns: the African dynamic in Trinidad culture. Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1991. Print.
Liverpool, Hollis . Rituals of power and rebellion: the carnival tradition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1763-1962. Chicago, IL.: Research Associates School Times :, 2001. Print.
Regis, Louis. The political calypso: true opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1962-1987. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 1998. Print.
Thornton, John K.. Africa and Africans in the making of the Atlantic world, 1400-1800. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.
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