Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SOCIETIES/Black History Month

A NUBIAN REBEL (Artist Unknown)

The seventeenth century witnessed some fundamental changes in the
political, economic, and social structure of the Caribbean.

During this period you saw a dramatic shift from being mere settler
communities to exploitation colonies within the non-Hispanic sphere.

There marked a startling political change of imperial divisions when
the Dutch, French and English successfully defied the might of Spain
and established permanent strongholds which for more than a century
had been the sole and private possession of monarchs of Castille.

After 1700 Caribbean possessions change hands among European powers,
but for the most part remain cosmopolitan.

It were somewhat difficult, to give you an exact account, of the number of persons
upon the Island; there being such store of shipping that brings passengers daily
to the place, but it has been conjectur'd by those that are long acquainted, best seen
in the knowledge of the Island, that there are not less than 50 thousand souls, beside
Negroes; and some them who began upon small fortunes, are now risen to very
great vast estates.
The Island is divided into three sorts of men, Masters, Servants, and Slaves.
the slaves and their posterity, being subject to their masters for ever are
kept and preserved with greater care than the servants,who are theirs but for
five years, according to the law of the island. So that for the time, the servants
have the worse lives, for they are put to very hard labor, ill lodging, and there
diet very sleight.

Richard Ligon
True and Exact history..... of Barbadoes, 1657

The 1700 found two distinct societies living side by side. The first type were loud,
violent society of struggling settlers, prospering farmers or planters of such,
officials, merchants, suffering slaves and ambivalent free persons
of color.

These would have been considered the true colonists, who for the most part
excepted the conditions they found themselves under albeit under duress, rules
regulations and adhering to varying degrees of political design of
different imperial systems.

The second social type generated by socio-political movement of the times were
groups of individuals commonly know as trans-frontier men.

Communities of Maroons or escaped slaves, defiant and stateless Buccaneers
who represented an alternative to colonial social structure but not a threat to
organized society.

The Maroons were the most successful alternative to European colonial society.

The Maroons came about in a climate of resistance to slavery and were a
essentially communities of Africans who escaped individually and collectively.
They continued the tradition begun by the indigenous Indians.


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