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The Caribbean. Introduction  Complex colonial history (Spanish, British, French, Dutch, and U.S.)  Plantation America (eg. Sugarcane)  Ethnicity of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Caribbean. Introduction  Complex colonial history (Spanish, British, French, Dutch, and U.S.)  Plantation America (eg. Sugarcane)  Ethnicity of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Caribbean

2 Introduction  Complex colonial history (Spanish, British, French, Dutch, and U.S.)  Plantation America (eg. Sugarcane)  Ethnicity of African origin  Isolated proximity  Isolation: cultural diversity, limited economic opportunities  Proximity: transnational connections, economic dependence

3 Environmental Geography

4 The Antillean islands  The Antillean islands: separate the Caribbean sea from the Atlantic ocean; densely populated  The rimland: biological diversity; sparsely populated The rimland

5 The Antillean islands  Can be divided into Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles  Greater Antilles  Four large islands: Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti, the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico  Majority of population  High mountain ranges

6 The Antillean islands  Lesser Antilles  Double arc of small islands stretching from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad  Footholds for rival European colonial powers  Inner arc: mountainous islands of volcanic origin (eg. Montserrat)  Outer arc: low-lying islands with volcanic base  ideal for growing sugarcane (eg. Antigua, Barbados)


8 Tectonic plates in the Antillean islands  Heavier North and South American plates go underneath the Caribbean plate  Creates subduction zone, and high mountains with volcanic activities  Caribbean plate: limestone + volcanic rocks  South American plate: sedimentary rock  eg. Trinidad and Tobago are on the South American Plate: sedimentary rock  oil reserves

9 Rimland States  Belize  Low-lying, limestone  Sugarcane, citrus  The Guianas  Rolling hills of the Guiana Shield  Rain forest  Timber  Eg. The Tropical Rainforest in SurinameThe Tropical Rainforest in Suriname  Crystalline rock  poor soil; metal extraction

10 Climate and Vegetation  Warm all year  Abundant rainfall  can support tropical forests  Antilliean islands: removed for plantation  Rimland: intact  Seasonality is defined by changes in rainfall  When is the rainy season?  Islands: July ~ November (  Hurricane)  The Guianas: January ~ March (  Shift of ITCZ to the north in winter)


12 Hurricanes  Forms off the coast of West Africa  Picks up moisture and speed as they move across the Atlantic  Westward-moving low-pressure disturbances  75 mph ~ 100 mph  July ~ November  Affects Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Central America, Mexico, southern North America


14 Biome – wet zones  Tropical forests  Remains exclusively in the rimland  Palm savannas  Tropical savanna (Aw) zones  Adapted to agriculture  Eg. Hispaniola, Cuba  Coastal mangrove swamps  Leeward shores  Not suited to human settlements, but vital marine habitant  Cleared to create open beaches  exposed to increased erosion Mangrove tree

15 Biome - arid zones  Thorn-scrub brush, cactus  Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao), Anguilla, the Cayman Islands  Not adequate to agriculture; salt, goat  Since 1960s, developed as world-class resorts

16 Environmental issues – Ecosystem  For nearly five centuries, an area has been so completely reworked through colonization and global trade  Extinction of Caribbean plants and animal  Extreme human modification of environment

17 Environmental issues - Deforestation  Covered in tropical rain forests prior to the arrival of European  Forests were cleared  to make a room for sugarcane  to provide the fuel to turn the cane juice into sugar  to provide lumber for housing, fences, and ships  The newly exposed tropical soils easily eroded, and thus land becomes unproductive

18 Environmental degradation and poverty in Haiti  What was once considered France’s richest colony now has a per capita income of $460  Colonial period: deforestation for sugarcane production  Independence (1804): slave uprising  U.S. occupation ( ): economic dependency  Duvalier dictatorships ( ): social inequities  Early 1990s: economic sanctions

19 Environmental degradation and poverty in Haiti Haiti Dominican Republic 70% subsistence farming  Reliance on biofuels

20 Managing the Rimland forests  Belize  eg. Coca Cola Corporation attempted to purchase the land for juice concentrate in 1980s  First jaguar reserve in the Americas  Guyana  Boa Vista to Georgetown  Governments: Highway construction  Conservationists: National park


22  Protecting environment is not a luxury but a question of economic livelihood

23 Population and Settlement

24 Densely settled islands and rimland frontiers


26 Fertility decline  Cuba  Education of women  Availability of birth control and abortion  Barbados  Out-migration of young Barbadians overseas  Preference for smaller families

27 Rise of HIV/AIDS  On average, 2% of the Caribbean population between the ages of 15 and 49 has HIV/AIDS  Relationship between HIV/AIDS transmission, international tourism, and prostitution  Highest rates (between age 15-49) are in  Haiti (5%)  Bahamas (4%)  The Dominican Republic (3%)  Guyana (3%)

28 Caribbean diaspora  Economic flight of Caribbean peoples across the globe  Driven by regions’ limited economic opportunities  Began in the 1950s  Emigrated to other Caribbean islands, North America, and Europe


30 Caribbean diaspora  Former colony  Barbadians (  Britain),  Surinamese (  Netherlands)  Puerto Rican (  U.S.)  Economic opportunities & proximity  Jamaican (  U.S.)  Cuban (  U.S.)  Dominican (  U.S., Puerto Rico)  Haitian (  Dominican Republic, U.S., Canada, French Guiana)

31 Settlement patterns  Reflects the plantation legacy  Plantation agriculture in the arable lowlands  Subsistence farming in marginal lands  Villages of freed or runaway slaves in remote areas of the interior  Cities that serve the administrative and social needs of the colonizers – few and small  Ancestors of former slaves work their small plots and seek seasonal wage-labor on estates  matriarchal social structurematriarchal social structure

32 Houseyards in the Lesser Antilles  Owned by a woman, her extended family of married children lives here  Rural subsistence  Economic survival  Matriarchal social structure

33 Caribbean cities  Since the 1960s, rural-to-urban migration  best explained by an erosion of rural jobs  60% urban  Cuba (75%), Haiti (35%)  Major cities are  Santo Domingo  Havana  Port-au-Prince  San Juan

34 Caribbean cities  Vulnerable to raids by European powers and pirates  walled and fortified  Santo Domingo (1496)  Havana: was essential port city for Spanish empire due to the strategic location  Transforming from ports for agricultural exports to tourism- oriented cities Old Havana

35 Cultural Coherence and Diversity

36  Cultural imprint of colonialism  Neo-Africa in the Americas  Creolization

37 Cultural imprint of colonialism  More intense demographic collapse of Amerindian populations (3 millions) within 50 years after the arrival of Columbus in 1492  Plantation-based agriculture dependent on forced (Africa) and indentured (Asia) laborforcedindentured  Need to understand the term Plantation AmericaPlantation America

38 Antigua (1823)

39 Plantation America  Cultural region that extends from midway up the coast of Brazil through the Guianas and the Caribbean into the southeastern U.S.  Ruled by a European elite; dependent on an African labor force; coastal  Mono-crop production (a single commodity)  Engendered specific social/economic relations

40 Plantation America – forced labor  10 million African landed in the America  More than half of these slaves were sent to the Caribbean

41 Plantation America – indentured labor  By the mid 19 th century, labor shortages due to the abolition of slavery  Governments sought indentured labor from South and Southeast Asia  Workers contracted to labor on estates for a set period of time  Legacy of indentured arrangements  Suriname: 1/3 South Asian descent, 16% Javanese  Guyana: 50% South Asian ancestry  Eg president election  Trinidad and Tobago: 40% South Asian ancestry

42 Neo-Africa in the Americas – Maroon societies  The Caribbean is the area with the greatest concentration of African transfers in the Americas  Maroons (communities of runaway slaves) have formed during the colonial period  eg. The maroons of Jamaica in the forested mountains of the islands’ interior  eg. Bush Negros of Surinamese in the interior rain forest

43 Neo-Africa in the Americas – African religions  Transfer of African religious and magical systems to the Caribbean  Voodoo in Haiti, Santeria in Cuba, Obeah in Jamaica  Diffused in other regions by immigrants  Santeria in Florida, New York  Obeah in Panama, Los Angeles

44 African religious influences in the Americas

45 Neo-Africa in the Americas – Creolization  Blending of African, European, and even some Amerindian cultural elements into the unique sociocultural systems found in the Caribbean  Garifuna (Black Carib)  Descendants of African slaves who speak an Amerindian language  Unions between Africans and Carib Indians on St. Vincent  Relocated in Belize and Honduras

46 Neo-Africa in the Americas - Creolization - Language  Dominant languages are European  Spanish (24m), French (8m), English (6m), Dutch(0.5m)  However, many of these languages have been creolized  Papiamento in Netherlands Antilles  French Creole or patois in Haiti  Creole  European vocabulary + African syntax, semantics


48 Neo-Africa in the Americas - Creolization - Music  Reflects a combination of African rhythms with European forms of melody and verse  Reggae(Jamaica)  Bob Marley Bob Marley  Calypso(Trinidad) Calypso(Trinidad)  Merengue(Dominican, Haiti)  Rumba(Cuba), Salsa  Celia Cruz Celia Cruz Calypso

49 Geopolitical Framework

50  Colonialism  Neocolonialism  Independence

51 European colonialism  Economically, European viewed the Caribbean as a profitable region (eg. sugar, rum, spices)  Geopolitically, European powers attempted to check Spanish hegemony Republic,  Spanish: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana  British: Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana  French: Haiti, French Guiana  Dutch: Suriname, Netherlands Antilles

52 Colonial affiliation in the Lesser Antilles  French and British traded islands several times  Many of these territories gained independence in the 1960s through the 1980s

53 U.S. neocolonialism  Monroe Doctrine (1823)  Spanish-American War (1898)  Panama Canal (1903)  It’s not until 1999 that Panamanians gain a control over canal  U.S. troops occupation in the Dominican Republic ( ), Haiti ( ), Cuba (1906-9, )  eg. military base in Guantánamo, Cuba  Business interests overshadow democratic principles  eg. U.S. company bought the best lands

54 Border disputes  Contested colonial holdings produced contemporary border disputes  Belize – Guatemala  Guyana – Venezuela  Guyana – Suriname  French Guiana – Suriname


56 Puerto Rico  Ceded by Spain to the U.S. (1898)  Became the commonwealth of the U.S. (1952)  So Puerto Rican is a U.S. citizen  Independence movement throughout 20 th century  But opinion is divided  Eg. U.S. Navy’s bombing exercises in Vieques (east coast)  Industrialization since the 1950s  Implemented program called “Operation Bootstrap”  Petrochemical and pharmaceutical plants

57 Cuba  Colony of Spain since the 1500s  American neocolonialism at the first half of 20 th century  Fidel Castro seized the power (1959)  Nationalized American industries  Established diplomatic relations with the USSR  Economic hardships in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union

58 Independence movements  Haiti (1804)  The Dominican Republic (1844)  Cuba, Puerto Rico (1898) – but U.S. involvement  Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados (1960s)  Bahamas (1973), Grenada (1974), Dominica (1978), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1979), St. Lucia (1979), Antigua and Barbuda (1981), Belize (1981), St. Kitts and Nevis (1983)  Suriname (1975)

59 Present-day colonies  British colonies: Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, and Montserrat  Department of France: French Guiana, Martinique, and Guadeloupe  The Dutch islands: Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Martin, Saba, and St. Eustatius

60 Regional integration  Experimented with regional trade associations since the 1960s  Goal – improve employment rates, increase intraregional trade, and reduce external dependence  CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) by English Caribbean (1963)

61 Economic and Social Development

62  Dominance of agriculture  Shift away from mono-crop dependence  Tourism, offshore banking, and assembly plants

63  Sugar  Throughout the region  Cuba has produced 60% of world export till 1990s  Soviet Union subsidized market  Coffee  Planted in the mountains of the Greater Antilles  Eg. Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee  Grown on small farms unlike sugar; Price instability  Banana  The Lesser Antilles (Dominica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia)  Grown on small farms in contrast to Latin America Agriculture

64 The Banana Wars  Small farms in the Caribbean versus Plantation in Latin America  Small farms in the Caribbean has the preferential access to the European market using colonial ties  1996 U.S., Ecuador, and some Central American countries took E.U. to WTO court  it’s unfair agreement, so eliminate it by 1998  Now E.U. is under pressure to drop the preferential treatment given to the former colonies  Increased global competition has forced many rural laborers to find employment elsewhere

65 Assembly-plant industrialization  Free trade zones (FTZs)  Duty-free and tax-exempt industrial parks for foreign corporations  Taking advantage of  Proximity to North America  Cheap labor  Export-led development policies  Now manufacturing accounts for 15% of GDP in Jamaica, and 20% of GDP in the Dominican Republic

66 Free trade zones in the Dominican Republic Currently 16 FTZs are operational with foreign investors from U.S., Canada, South Korea, and Taiwan

67 Assembly-plant industrialization  Opportunities  Create new jobs  Economies are diversifying  Challenges  Foreign investors may gain more than the host countries  Little integration with national supplies  Low wages  Increase in competition

68 Offshore banking  Appeals to foreign banks and corporations by offering specialized services that are confidential and tax-exempt  Bahamas  The Cayman Islands  Attractiveness  Demand-side: proximity to North America  Supply-side: financial service as a way to bring hard currency to resource-poor states

69 Offshore banking  Risk  Offers little employment  Vulnerable to political instability  Attracts drug money (eg. money laundering)  Drug consumption  Corruption of local officials  Drug-related murders  Less uncertain whether this will improve local earnings and standards of living


71 Tourism

72  Contributing factors  Environmental: dry season matches winter in the U.S.  Locational: proximity to the U.S., colonial ties  Economic factor: employment, environmentally less destructive  Countries  Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba hosted 70% of 14 million international tourists  Cuba used to be the largest host by the 1950s, but with the rise of Fidel Castro, it has been neglected. Currently Cuba is reviving tourism. Cuba does not receive U.S. client because of U.S. sanction


74 Tourism  Pitfalls  Subject to the overall health of world economy and political affairs  Recession  Heightened fear of terrorism  Local residents confront the disparity between their own lives and those of tourists  Capital leakage: huge gap between gross receipts and the total tourist dollars that remain in the Caribbean



77 Social development  In contrast to the inconsistent record of economic growth, most Caribbean show strong measures of social development with the exception of Haiti  Cuba’s accomplishments in health care and education  Excellence in education except for Hispaniola and the former British colonies (Jamaica, Belize, and St. Lucia)

78 Brain drain  Outflow of professionals  Occurs especially between former colonies and the mother countries  Jamaica (60%)  Barbados, Guyana, Dominical Republic, and Haiti (20%)  Can negatively impact local health care, education, and enterprise  Stronger economic performance has slowed this process

79 Remittances  Migrants’ sending money back home is also an important source of income in this region  eg. Remittance income is the second leading industry in the Dominican Republic  Often returnees can introduce positive economic and political changes, but their impact is too fragmented to represent a national development force

80 Status of women  Matriarchal basis of Caribbean households  Rural custom of men leaving home for seasonal employment tends to nurture strong and self-sufficient female networks  With new employment opportunities, female labor force participation has surged (eg. Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Martinique)  Cuba’s educational and labor policies yielded the most educated and professional women in the Caribbean  eg. Female doctors outnumber their male counterparts

81 Supplemental web resources 

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