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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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An Italian mariner with borrowed Spanish ships began one of the most exciting chapters of European history since the glory days of the ancient Roman Caesars. By the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 and the Bull of Pope Alexander VI, lands discovered by Christopher Columbus were decreed as legitimate possessions of Spain and Portugal. The thrill of these discoveries, with prospects of abundant treasures and the irresistible lure of adventure, beckoned Europeans grown tired of domestic, political and social upheavals.

Britain took the vanguard role that spanned more than three centuries of European incursions in the Hispano-Portuguese New World domain. It began as early as 1496 with the voyages of John Cabot and the subsequent exploits of the Elizabethan sea dogs. The courage and vision of settlers and explorers and the magnificent victories of English admirals embraced such activities that engaged the monarchies of the Tudors, Stuarts and Hanoverians.

Spain could not successfully keep out the interlopers and intruders from her territories as these “squatters” from Europe gained a foothold in her unoccupied or poorly defended lands in the Americas. English, ←1 | 2→French and Dutch competitors were the primary forces competing for a share in the New World. Not content to merely trade with Spanish colonies, these European nations sought to gain a foothold in the Americas. Cardinal Richelieu with Marshall d’Effiat formed a French consortium, the Company of the Isles of America, to colonize lands in the New World and the place to begin...

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