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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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1 Slaughter of the First Peoples

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Slaughter of the First Peoples

Prior to 1492, there were millions of First Peoples peacefully residing in the Americas. The inventions, lifestyle and achievements of the First Peoples are well-documented. This would include the Incas who used musical instruments as the panpipes, had systems of measurement—calendar, hanging bridges and aqueducts.1 Other civilizations as the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs also made valuable contributions to humanity.2 In the Caribbean, the Tainos (Arawak) and Kalinagos (Caribs) had also made considerable progress. The Tainos were skilled as potters, weavers, woodworkers and carvers of wood, stone and shell. Also, the Tainos developed a grater to make cassava cakes and used juice squeezers to obtain cassava juice. Likewise, the Kalinagos were well-known for their large canoes, about forty feet in length, which were used for fishing and warfare. The Kalinagos also made pepper sauces and beer from sweet potatoes.

Since the re-discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, in 1492, there has been a continuous onslaught against these innocent peoples. Columbus, on October 12, 1492, wrote in his journal, “They should be good servants …. I, our Lord being pleased, will take hence, at the time of my departure, six natives for your Highnesses.” These six Indians were frightened and confused and were paraded before the King and Queen of Spain and other curious Spanish onlookers. Paul Gray, in 1991, summarized the impact of Columbus, “The indigenous peoples and their cultures were doomed by European arrogance, brutality and infectious diseases. Columbus’...

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