Colonization, Transformation and Continuities in the Indigenous Caribbean


The indigenous peoples of the Caribbean were the first to have suffered European colonization of the Americas. From the arrival of Columbus in 1492 the insular territories were transformed in a massive slave raiding arena in which the knowledge of so-labelled ‘indios’ was used and manipulated by the Europeans and transferred across the Caribbean Sea. Indigenous peoples were put to work in the goldmines and farms of Hispaniola, Cuba and Puerto Rico or in the pearl fisheries in Cubagua. On the other hand, in the Greater Antilles the encomienda system generated an intensive exploitation that disarticulated the indigenous societies and transformed their sociocultural practices. The influence of a forced African diaspora, and the concomitant Amerindian-African-European inter-cultural dynamics at play changed the indigenous Caribbean islandscape forever. The impact of these initial acts of colonialism and the role played by the Amerindian populations in the colonial process are often discounted for and remain up until today a far neglected chapter in global history. Despite the infamous genocide that took place, indigenous cultural and religious continuities are strongly represented in today’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society of the Caribbean.

Cite this Record

Colonization, Transformation and Continuities in the Indigenous Caribbean. Corinne L. Hofman, Roberto Valcárcel Rojas, Jorge Ulloa Hung. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443588)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20106