International Islamic University IslamabadSubject: Post-Colonial LiteratureAssignment Topic: Caribbean HistorySubmitted to: Mam Saiyma AslamSubmitted by: Shamsa NoreenMobeen JamshaidBushra AftabHaseema ZafarSonia SanaSana SafeerDate of submission: 26.04.2013
The Caribbean is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and thesurrounding coasts. Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700islands, islets, reefs, and cays. The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnicgroup present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the firstEuropean contact. The word "Caribbean" has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographicaland political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural andhistorical connections to slavery, European colonization, and the plantation system. Jamaica,Dominica, Barbados, Trinidad, Saint Lucia and Martinique are its islands. Following descriptionof the regions contains introduction to these regions of Caribbean and their some literary works.Jamaica:Jamaica is an island nation and the third-largest island of the of the Greater Antilles, 234kilometers (146 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometers (50 mi) in width situated in theCaribbean Sea as its fifth-largest island country.It is about 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of Cuba,190 kilometers (120 mi) west of the island of Hispaniola. When the English captured Jamaica,the Spanish colonists fled after freeing their slaves. Those slaves fled into the mountains andlived with the Tainos. Those runaway slaves became known as the Jamaican Maroons. By 1660,the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 whites and some 1,500 blacks, and in a few shortyears blacks formed a majority of the population. Although Britain verbally abolished the slavetrade in 1807, they continued to import Chinese and Indian workers into their colonies asindentured servants to supplement worn out work force. Descendants of those workers continueto reside in Jamaica today. During its first 200 years of British rule, on the backs of slaves,Jamaica became one of the worlds leading sugar-exporting nations. Like other islands in theCaribbean, Jamaica had its share of slave rebellions. Eventually, this forced Britain to formallyabolished slavery in 1834. It finally gained its full independence in 1962 from United Kingdom.Through the 1970s and 1980s governments came and went, debt levels increased and theeconomy all but cratered and some major industries closed. Jamaica remains an important forcein the tourism economy and politics of the Caribbean. Jamaica is known for many things likenumerous idyllic beach resorts, white-sand beaches, local pirate history, Reggae music, cultureand food, and delicious Blue Mountain Coffee.
Carlton Lindsay Barrett born and raised in Jamaica, worked as a journalist in Europe andAfrica, eventually settled in Nigeria. During the 1960s and 1970s, Barrett was well-known as anexperimental and progressive essayist, poet, novelist, and playwright. His work revolved aroundissues of black identity and dispossession, the African Diaspora, and the survival of descendantsof black Africans. Barrett is a poet whose early poems dealt with racial and emotional conflictand exile, as evidenced in his collection, The Conflicting Eye, published under the pseudonym"Eseoghene" in 1973. He became a major theorist of the literature of the African diaspora.Brretts first book, The State of Black Desire, was published privately in Paris in 1966. Itincluded three poems and three essays focusing on black alienation, exile, and black art. Theessays were characteristic of the black aesthetic movement of the 1960s, which argued that blackart, particularly jazz and other black music, contained the basis for building a black movement inthe western world. Barrett went on to discuss black jazz as a metaphor for blacks in a whiteworld. He said in one of his essay “The Tide Inside, It Rages!” from the above described bookthat “The situation of the black man in the western world today, is that of a man in the midst ofan open war without the benefit of a complete knowledge of the weapons he holds."Dominica:Dominica is a mountainous island of volcanic origin of the Lesser Antilles in theCaribbean, south of Guadeloupe and north of Martinique. It was Explored by Columbus in1493.Dominica was claimed by Britain and France until 1763, when it was formally ceded toBritain. Along with other Windward Isles, it became a self-governing member of the West IndiesAssociated States in free association with Britain in 1967. Before the arrival of ChristopherColumbus the Kalinagos (Caribs) were self-reliant people. The kalinagos (Caribs) survivedmainly by fishing, hunting, and farming. They were skilled craft people and made canoes (hewfrom huge trees and dug out) which were used to travel to and from the neighboring islands. TheCaribs also weaved baskets and were famous for their herbal medicine. They spoke their ownlanguage and worshipped the sprit of their ancestors. Although the island is poorer than some ofits Caribbean neighbors, Dominica has a relatively low crime rate and does not have theextremes of wealth and poverty evident on other islands. Economic austerity measures, includinghigher taxes, were introduced in 2002.
There were different writers who belong to Dominica and wrote about the circumstancesfaced by Caribbean people in their writings for example Andrew lrving, Lazare Alick and PascalElsa are the famous writers of Dominica. Alick Lazare was born in Dominica in October, 1934.Alick Lazare is best known as a public servant and recently as a regional consultant in publicsector finance and management. He has written and published several short stories, includingCarib, and is the author of Nature Island Verses, a volume of poems published by The WritersShowcase in 2001.The first novel written by lazare is Pharcel: runaway slave. Pharcel looks atthe other side of history, from the African perspective, and tells of the motives and aspirations ofthe runaway slaves in Dominica about the turn of the nineteenth century, and their constant battleagainst the oppression and greed of white colonial society. it is a historical novel that brings intoplay the politics of slavery, revolutionary fervour, sexual exploitation, inter-racial love, personalloyalty and betrayal, brought together in a gripping tale that will hold the reader’s attention andinterest.Barbados:Barbados was inhabited by Arawaks and Caribs at the time of European colonization inthe 16th century. Barbados is the eastern-most Caribbean island. The island, which is less thenone million year old, was created by the crash of the Atlantic crustal and Caribbean plates, alongwith a volcanic eruption. The first indigenous people were Amerindians who arrived here fromVenezuela. They came down through Canada and the Americas to the South.They made their new home in Barbados along the coast, leaving behind hardly a trace,only a hint of evidence for the archeologist to date and dream about. The Arawaks were short,olive-skinned people who bound their foreheads during infancy to slope it into a point. Theyconsidered this along with black and white body painting to be attractive. In 1200s, the Arawakswere conquered by the Caribs. The Caribs were a taller and stronger Amerindian tribe than theArawaks. They were incredibly accurate bowmen and used a powerful poison to paralyze theirprey. The culture has almost vanished from Barbados. The Portuguese came to Barbados enroute to Brazil. It was at this time that the island was named Los Barbados by the Portugueseexplorer Pedro a Campos.
Despite the Caribs ruthless warlike abilities, the island was taken over by the Spanish in1492. The Spanish imposed slavery on the Caribs. The first English ship touched the island onMay 14th 1625 under the command of Captain John Powell. On February 17th 1627, CaptainHenry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and 10 slaves to occupy and settle the island.This expedition landed in Whole town formerly known as Jamestown. The colonists establisheda House of Assembly in 1639. It was the 3rd ever Parliamentary Democracy in the world.People with good financial backgrounds and social connections with England wereallocated land. Within a few years much of the land had been deforested to make way fortobacco and cotton plantations. During the 1630s, sugar cane was introduced to the agriculture.The production of sugar, tobacco and cotton was heavily reliant on the indenture of servants. TheBarbadians dominated the Caribbean Sugar Industry in these early years. The sugar plantationowners were powerful and successful businessmen who had arrived in Barbados in the earlyyears. Many natural disasters occurred in the late 1600s, such as the locust plague, theBridgetown fire and a major storm in 1667. By 1720 Barbadians were no longer a dominantforce within the sugar industry. They had been surpassed by the Leeward Islands and theJamaica.After slavery was abolished in 1834, many of the new citizens of Barbados tookadvantage of the superb education available on the island. After these citizens had been educated,they wanted something more than working in the cane fields. Some of them gained prominentoffices in Barbados. Others worked in common jobs, and still others stayed in the cane fields.Barbados was first occupied by the British and remained a British colony until internal autonomywas granted in 1961. The Island gained full independence in 1966, and maintains ties to theBritain monarch represented in Barbados by the Governor General. It is a member of theCommonwealth.The most famous Barbadian writer is poet and playwright Derek Walcott. He won the1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. Other well-known writers include essayist John Wickham,novelist George Lamming, and poet Edward Kamau Braithwaite. The Pleasures of Exile, In theCastle of My Skin, and The Emigrants are important works by George Lamming.
The Pleasures of Exile, In the Castle of My Skin, and The Emigrants are important worksby George Lamming. George Lamming (born 8 June 1927) is a novelist, essayist and poet, he isthe most famous writer to emerge from Barbados and one of the Caribbeans most importantnovelists. The Pleasures of Exile is a post-colonialist, post-realist and post-nationalist counter-discourse because it gives us George Lammings glimpse of the complex issues of identitycontained within the Caribbean island-states that were largely shaped by European colonialdiscourse and practice from the late fifteenth century until the late twentieth century.Colonialism and British-colonization are the important themes discussed by GeorgeLamming in novel, In the Castle of My Skin. It is a semi-autobiographical story of the artist-as-a-young-man/child sort but it is also much more than that. It is the story of a small island country(Barbados) becoming aware of itself, its colonized identies and the desire to cling to traditionwhile feeling pulled into change. George Lammings first novel was an immediate success in theAnglophone West Indian literary communities of London and the Caribbean. The novel washailed as an important statement of the growing anti-colonial movement in France and England.However, many critics also noted its skillful technique and elegant use of language.Trinidad:The first inhabitants of this island were Amerindians from South America who traveledthere hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean. With the arrivalof settlers from Europe, foreign diseases greatly reduced the native population, and today fewfull-blooded descendants remain. The European influence on the culture of Trinidad primarilycomes from Spain, France, and Britain. Spanish rule began when Columbus "discovered"Trinidad and lasted for nearly three hundred years. During the latter part of Spain’s occupation,French immigrants moved into political offices; in addition to African and Spanish influences,Trinidadian culture began to adopt French traits, language, and customs.In 1797, Trinidad came under British control. In 1802 Trinidad became British coloniesunder the Treaty of Amiens. Under colonial rule, slaves were shipped from Africa to work in thesugar fields and plantations. When the African slave trade was abolished officially in 1834, EastIndian and Chinese peasants were hired as indentured servants to work the fields. Many chose tostay and live in Trinidad, even after the practice of indentured servitude ended in 1917.In 1958,
the Federation of the West Indies was formed. Trinidad became an independent member of theCommonwealth of Nations in 1962, and in 1967 joined the Organization of American States. OnAugust 1, 1976, the island became the Republic of Trinidad. Although there were differentwriters who belong to Trinidad for example Kirk.A.Inniss,Earl Lovlice and Merle Hodge. All ofthem wrote about the lives of people who live in Trinidad and face circumstances under Britishrule. We will discuss Merle Hodge with her writings.Merle Hodge was born in Curupe, Trinidad, in 1944. She studied in Trinidad until1962 then in University of London till 1965,she also received her Ph.D. Hodge has published anumber of freelance articles, mostly about Caribbean social issues, a nonfiction piece in 1981about the new government in Grenada, and two novels. For the Life of Laetitia is her newestnovel, published in 1993. She currently lectures at the University of the West Indies, St.Augustine, and continues to write. Merle Hodge wrote different books and Crick Crack, Monkeyis one of them. The world of Crick Crack, Monkey is a dual one. The main theme of this novelis childhood in west indies. by writing this book Merle has shown that how color is consider asbase of everything. People became separated just on basis of color. On the base of color wejudge others. Even now people have lemmatized their standards on which they evaluate others.Her famous novel is For The Life Of Laetitia. This novel by Hodge is a novel with anauthentic but complex taste of Caribbean culture and several serious themes. She has shown apowerful picture of a resilient young woman, in her novel, who must challenge both racism andsexism in order to get the education that will allow her to escape both. Although Merle Hodgehas mostly discussed the problems of identity, economical issues, racism and sexism in herwritings. The main feature of her novels challenges the assumption that modernism andmodernization necessarily liberate the Caribbean subject from the tyranny of tradition.Saint Lucia:Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundarywith the Atlantic Ocean. One of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucyof Syracuse by the French, the islands first European colonizers. Later, England took control ofthe island. England was at war with France and rule of the island changed frequently (it wasseven times each ruled the island). Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West
Indies".On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealthof Nations associated with the United Kingdom. Now, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State ofSaint Lucia, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power, however, is inthe hands of the Prime Minister and his cabinet while the judiciary is independent and conductsgenerally fair public trials.Roderick "Roddy" Walcott, born in Castries (St Lucia), the twin brother of DerekWalcott, was a St Lucian playwright, screenwriter, painter, theatre director, costume and setdesigner, lyricist and literary editor. As a dramatist he "has been recognized as one of the mostcommitted figures in the effort to develop a distinctive Caribbean theatre in the region".Osita Okagbue, in his book, Culture and Identity in African and Caribbean Theatre,says: “Because of the shared experience of trans-Atlantic slavery and European colonialism,issues of culture and identity are major concerns for African and Caribbean playwrights…Bothexperiences brought intense cultural and psychic dislocations which still impact in various wayson the lives of Africans and peoples of African descent around the world. African and Caribbeanplaywrights try to help their peoples regain their dignities by affirming their cultures, historiesand identities.Like his brother Derek Walcott, Roderick Walcott also immortalized the people of hishomeland in his work as he captured their speech patterns, jokes, idiosyncrasies, superstitions,joie de vive and daily struggles against the backdrop of their beautiful island. RoderickWalcott’s work help Saint Lucians appreciate their heritage not only as Caribbean people but aspeople who have a rightful place in the world that they should enjoy to the fullest. He gained theattention of the people through theatre, hence founded Saint Lucia Arts Guild. His worksrepresent a unique and important component of Saint Lucian and Caribbean culture which wouldotherwise be lost to posterity.Roderick Walcott is best known for his musicals which were always based on SaintLucian’s colorful French Creole culture. He also represented St Lucia at international culturalconferences and headed delegations to Carifesta in Guyana (1972) and Cuba (1979). His play
The Harrowing of Benjy is still the most produced play in the English-speaking Caribbean. Hisnow-famous musical The Banjo Man was staged by Saint Lucia for the first Carifesta in Guyanain 1972, and was part of a trilogy that included Chanson Marianne (1974) and Romiel et Violette(1979).In a document “Thirty years of the St. Lucia Creative Writing 1950-1980” Roderickwrites: “there were the scoffers and the hard-line traditionalists who still believed in “pure”English drama as the only worthwhile Standard for our theatre, but the new wave of enthusiasmoverpowered them and today dialect in drama is no longer a burning issues.”In short, Post colonial writers recognize plurality between colonizers and colonized. Allthese islands were under British rule and had to face brutal slave trade. Later on, these islandsplayed a significant part in their rebellion to British supremacy and got independence. Still theyare ruled by indentured slavery and are confronted number of social and economic crisis. Thehistory of Caribbean from the time of Columbus arrival was regarded as the history of genocide,poverty, economic exploitation and racism. Due to rise in awareness of national identity andnational culture in post colonial age, issues of exile, racism, language and history are veryimportant to Caribbean writers.