Island Lives: Historical Archaeologies of the Caribbean by Paul Farnsworth (ed.)

By Paul Farnsworth (ed.)

This entire learn of the ancient archaeology of the Caribbean offers sociopolitical context for the continuing improvement of nationwide identities.

Long ahead of the founding of Jamestown in 1607, there have been Spanish forts, bustling cities, sugar plantations, and sea alternate flourishing within the Caribbean. whereas richer international locations, really the us, could view the Caribbean this present day as purely a spot for sunlight and enjoyable, the island colonies have been at one time way more very important and profitable to their eu empire international locations than their North American opposite numbers. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, as competing colonial powers vied with one another for army and fiscal virtue within the Western Hemisphere, occasions within the Caribbean without delay inspired the yankee mainland.

This is one motive for the shut learn of old archaeology within the Caribbean. one other is the turning out to be popularity of the way archaeological examine can help the defining of nationwide identities for the islands, lots of them younger self sufficient states suffering to set up themselves economically and politically. by means of instances within the French West Indies, in particular on Guadeloupe, within the Dutch Antilles and Aruba, within the British Bahamas, on Montserrat and St. Eustatius, on Barbados, and the inside the U.S. Virgin Islands, the participants to Island Lives have produced a extensive evaluation of Caribbean historic archaeology.

Island Lives makes transparent that historic archaeology within the Caribbean will keep growing and diversify as a result of the curiosity Caribbean peoples have in recording, maintaining, and selling their tradition and background; the price it provides to their "heritage tourism"; and the relationship it has to African American historical past and archaeology. additionally, the members element to the long run by way of suggesting varied trajectories that ancient archaeology and its practitioners may perhaps soak up the Caribbean area. In so doing, they elucidate the issues and matters confronted around the globe by way of researchers operating in colonial and post-colonial societies.

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Last, we must not lose sight of the social and political context in the French territories in the Americas. In these territories, which had been colonies since 1635, French departments from 1946 onward, and places where slavery had been abolished in 1848, historical science is not neutral. The people of Guadeloupe and Martinique today are mainly of African or even East Indian descent. The Amerindians have disappeared; individuals of European extraction are made up of recent arrivals (métros) absent from the historical debate, and blancs-pays, descendants of colonists and slave owners.

Decline Although Spain kept most of her New World colonies into the nineteenth century, she ceased to be a major colonial power long before that time. In 1763, Spain was forced to cede Florida to England in order to regain Havana, which had been lost during the Seven Years War. Spain did gain substantial territories in North America (Louisiana in 1764 and Florida once again in 1783), but a close inspection reveals that these gains were orchestrated by other nations merely to keep territory out of the hands of more powerful rivals.

This essay will only scratch the surface of a vast corpus of work. Spanish shipwrecks naturally attract archaeologists, treasure 12 / Charles R. Ewen hunters, and the public in general. In many cases, the activities of amateur archaeologists have prompted professional archaeologists to become involved either directly or indirectly. The depredations of unscrupulous treasure salvors have spurred some governments to attempt to regulate underwater salvage operations. Government regulations are often administered or assisted by an archaeological representative of the government in question.

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