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Rise and Fall of an Empire

A Progressive Caribbean

Jerome Teelucksingh

Rise and Fall of an Empire: A Progressive Caribbean emphasizes the significance of literature, media, history, slavery, culture and ideology which helped shape the Caribbean. This interdisciplinary work includes lesser known events, individuals and organizations that have emerged from colonialism and contributed to the foundations of a Caribbean Empire. Furthermore, these personalities and groups made valid contributions to the improvement and betterment of Caribbean societies. There are obvious contradictions within the Caribbean region that denote noteworthy progress whilst other indicators reflect a regression. Undoubtedly, these are features of a dynamic people and stable region that should be considered an Empire.

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Many persons tend to associate the word “Empire” with a mighty, powerful country or civilization in the past or present. It is normal to use the terms—British Empire, Roman Empire, Inca Empire, American Empire or Spanish Empire. Some would be familiar with evolution of the Maurya Empire, Byzantine Empire, Babylonian Empire, Qing Empire or Ottoman Empire.1 It would be difficult for some persons to readily accept the term—Caribbean Empire. In retrospect, it is easier to accept such a term when one considers the fact that Caribbean people (and the diaspora) have been major contributors to global development and progress.

The world’s history is one of invasions, conquests and expulsions. There was a continuous onslaught, initiated by “discoverers” and “explorers” against indigenous peoples. From the late fifteenth century, imperialism and colonialism wreaked havoc on millions of persons in the Caribbean. A cursory overview gives the impression that the Caribbean never produced mighty conquerors as Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Saladin the Muslim warlord, Julius Caesar and Hannibal. However, this is a misleading view. There are countless ←xi | xii→and often forgotten persons and organizations who fearlessly fought against slavery and indentureship and vehemently opposed colonialism and imperialism. Their names are neither recorded in history books nor displayed on memorials.

Some persons would ask—what would be the criteria in defining a region or country as an Empire? Is it the size of the population, amount of resources, achievements of the citizens or military conquests? It...

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