By S. Torres-Saillant
This is first highbrow background of the Caribbean written through a most sensible Caribbean reports student. The booklet examines either the paintings of natives of the area in addition to texts interpretive of the quarter produced by means of Western authors. Stressing the experimental and cultural particularity of the Caribbean, the research considers significant questions within the field.
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Extra info for An Intellectual History of the Caribbean
R. James speculates that Pierre Dominique Toussaint Louverture, the great leader of the Saint Domingue insurgents in the 1790s, found in Raynal’s prophecy an allusion to himself as the predestined individual to whom history had entrusted the formidable mission of liberating his community (James 1963:25, 82, 171, 250). But political leaders in the Caribbean have rarely lived up to the expectations of their people. The Wine of Astonishment, the penetrating novel by Trinidadian author Earl Lovelace, explores the bitter reality of Caribbean people’s frustrated hope and unrewarded faith at the hands of morally feeble leaders.
Europeans could conceivably not have arrived on Antillean shores when they did or they could have traveled there as visitors interested in trade and cultural exchange rather than in plunder and domination. They could have leaned toward an appreciation of the humanity of the aborigines, the way the Venetian Marco Polo, over two centuries before the fateful trip by Columbus, experienced curiosity and eagerness to learn about the peoples of the various provinces he visited in China, as with his coming upon the Tartars, about whom he learned that they believed “in a deity whose nature is Sublime and Heavenly” and among whom the wealthy “dress in cloth and gold and silks, with skins of the sable, the ermine, and other animals, all in the richest fashion” (Polo 1930:92).
England, Spain, and France all had a stake in the events that culminated in the Haitian Revolution and the emergence of Haiti as a sovereign republic in 1804. During the second half of the nineteenth century, France, England, and Spain competed with the United States for control of Samana Bay in the Dominican Republic. Holland and France wrestled fiercely for hegemony over the diminutive territory of Saint Martin, ultimately settling for a partition of the island into two colonial halves, Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin.
An Intellectual History of the Caribbean by S. Torres-Saillant