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Major Migrations Into The Caribbean

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 532
  • Category: Migration

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Describe the major migrations into the Caribbean that greatly impacted society and culture. Migration is the movement of people from one place to another, but in this case, it is the movement of a group of people from another country coming into the Caribbean for better opportunities mainly, because of slavery. The major migrations into the Caribbean were mainly slavery, indentureship, encomienda and the plantation system. All these were the impacts of the historical processes. Influences of the major migrations in the Caribbean were that of experiences with plantation slavery –(Europe, Caribbean and Africa), experiences with Indentureship, Colonialism and Indigenous populations. Therefore, this essay sees to describe how these major migrations into the Caribbean impacted the society and culture. The Pre-Columbian Migration was the migration patterns of indigenous peoples into the Americas. The Mayas, Aztecs and Incas were aspects of the Pre-Columbian period. They entered the Americas through Alaska and a group of hunters and gatherers crossed the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska. They settled in areas like Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

There was also the Post-Columbian Peros which started with the Spaniards. This migratory movement during the Columbian period was westward across the Atlantic with the aim of finding the ‘Indies’ and getting its riches by trade or conquest. The Tainos and Kalinagoes entered the Caribbean through South America. They gained entrance through Orinoco Basin between Venezuela and Trinidad. Some settled in the Lesser Antilles (Kalinagoes) others went to the Greater Antilles (Tainos). These indigenous people did not come empty handed, they came with their diverse culture. Spanish greed resulted in the enslavement of Tainos under the encomienda system: noblemen were granted lands under repartimiento and Tainos under encomienda so they could be protected, converted and instructed, in return they we’re required to work the land and pay tributes. It became a system of using a supply of forced labour (slaves) for economic production (mining, farming, and ranching). It ensured Spanish expansion, settlement, and control of lands. The superior technology of Europeans became the instrument to enslave and plunder the simpler indigenous societies of the region.

Religion was introduced as an instrument of conquest and imperialism. It resulted in the genocide of the Taino groups and mass murder of others. This had far reaching impact on the Caribbean region namely,a change in the social composition of the region: whites, Amerindians and Mestizos) and the stratification within the society according to caste and class, genocide of Amerindians from diseases, guns, swords and suicide and marroonage as some Amerindians fled to the safety of the mountains, forests and caves in territories such as Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica. They also brought cultural exchange where Amerindians introduced tobacco smoking, use of hammock medicinal properties of plants and herbs, tropical products such as root crops and beans. Significant numbers of indigenous peoples are to be found in Guyana (Arawak, Caribs, WaiWai, Warau), Belize (Garifuna), Dominica (Caribs) and Surinam. Post Columbian westward movement continued with the coming of other European nations (English, Dutch, French) trying to break Spain’s monopoly. Through their actions other groups migrated westwards either forcedly in the case of the Africans or voluntarily in the case of the Asians.

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