Myths and Realities of Caribbean History

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University of Alabama Press, 2009 - History - 154 pages
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This book seeks to debunk eleven popular and prevalent myths about Caribbean history. Using archaeological evidence, it corrects many previous misconceptions promulgated by history books and oral tradition as they specifically relate to the pre-Colonial and European-contact periods. It informs popular audiences, as well as scholars, about the current state of archaeological/historical research in the Caribbean Basin and asserts the value of that research in fostering a better understanding of the region’s past.   Contrary to popular belief, the history of the Caribbean did not begin with the arrival of Europeans in 1492. It actually started 7,000 years ago with the infusion of Archaic groups from South America and the successive migrations of other peoples from Central America for about 2,000 years thereafter. In addition to discussing this rich cultural diversity of the Antillean past, Myths and Realities of Caribbean History debates the misuse of terms such as “Arawak” and “Ciboneys,” and the validity of Carib cannibalism allegations.
 

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Contents

Myth 1 Caribbean History Started with the Arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492
1
Myth 2 The Arawaks and Caribs Were the Two Major Groups in the Precolonial Caribbean
11
Myth 3 Columbus Met Arawaks in the Northern Caribbean
49
Myth 4 The Natives Encountered by Christopher Columbus in the Northern Caribbean Migrated from South America
58
Myth 5 The Arawaks Were the First Potters and Farmers to Have Settled in the Caribbean
75
Myth 6 The Ciboneys Lived in Western Cuba at the Time of Spanish Contact
83
Myth 7 The IslandCaribs Were Cannibals
88
Myth 8 All the Amerindians Migrating from South America to the Caribbean IslandHopped from the Continent to the Lesser and Greater Antilles
100
Myth 9 The Spanish Introduced Syphilis into the Caribbean and the New World
111
Myth 10 Christopher Columbus Wrote the Version of His Diario Diary That We Use Today
117
Myth 11 The Spanish Colonists Brought Civilization to Native Societies in the Caribbean
121
Conclusion
129
Glossary
131
References Cited
137
Index
151
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Basil A. Reid is author of Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from the Caribbean and Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

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