caribbean culture

Topics: Caribbean, Jamaica, Slavery Pages: 6 (2012 words) Published: November 6, 2013


Discuss the contributions of the various ethnic groups to Caribbean society

The history of the Caribbean is rich with adventurous tales, blended cultures, and natural diversity. The impact of colonialism and slavery can still be seen in many of the island cultures today; so much so, in fact, that travellers often note a sense of living with the near-tangible history that permeates the region. Knowing the history of the Caribbean region goes a long way toward understanding its people. Each island has a unique cultural identity shaped by the European colonialists, the African heritage of slaves, and the enduring legacies of the native Indian tribes. This rich history and its lasting influence are set against a backdrop of crystal clear waters and perpetual sunshine. Although not largely written about, Caribbean culture has arguably been preserved more by the authentic voices of “intuitive scholars": artists, farmers, merchants, and traders educationally deprived, perhaps, but quite learned in the cultural heritage of the island nations. They are the region's best oral historians and cultural preservationists. The Caribbean lifestyle is undoubtedly a product of its tropical setting. The music, architecture, attitudes and customs have all, in some way, been shaped by the physical landscape and climate. The cultures of the Caribbean countries are a blend of colonial mainstays and pervasive influences by major ethnic groups of the region such as East Indians and Africans.

The contribution of the various ethnic groups to Caribbean cultures as being far reaching hence the need to look at each group individually. Firstly the Europeans, the 15th century was the era of rivalry in the European continent especially among the countries of Spain, France, Britain; Portugal and to some extend The Dutch. Spain led the way in the venture to the Caribbean in 1492 with the man known to the rest of the world as Christopher Columbus the (discoverer). Spain was followed by other European countries that would eventually make contribution to the Caribbean in many difference areas, examples of such areas are; food, religion, music, dress and sports. How did the European contributed to Caribbean culture in terms of their food. According to a retrieved from http: //caribbean-guide.info/past.and.present/culture/.com. Caribbean food is a rich reminder of where today's Caribbean people came from: island food brings together indigenous tastes of the native Arawak and Carib Indians, European colonial influences, and African flavours introduced by slaves. Sugar cane that would eventually see the exploitation of African was introduced to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus in the 1500s. Sugar cane was to become one of main economic player in the Caribbean up until the 1900th. According to an article retrieved from http://eouropeanfood.About.com Guide. Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean around 1492 and introduced Spanish influences on Latin Caribbean cooking. Other Europeans followed the Spanish in colonizing the islands and brought their culinary trademarks. Some of the ingredients the Spanish and Europeans introduced include: coconut, chickpeas, cilantro, eggplant, onions, garlic, oranges, limes, mangoes, rice and coffee. It didn’t take long to discover that rum could be made from fermented cane juice. This is one contribution that the Caribbean enjoys the benefit especial Jamaica which is main producer of rum in the Caribbean. In addition to food the Europeans also contributed in the dance and music. The history of Caribbean music begins with the Native Americans, the first inhabitants of the islands. Traditional tribal music which featured percussion instruments developed but perished along with most of the Native Americans in the 1600s. Subsequent Caribbean music emerged as a result of new relationships between African slaves and European settlers. The settler communities, as opposed to the...
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