The Effect of Slavery on the Identity of Cuba
The Caribbean is a diverse region with a unique history. The progress and advancement of each island complied with the European country in control of it at the time. The Caribbean was conquered and colonized soon after Columbus’ discovery in 1492. A similar aspect of the heterogeneous region has been its plantations. The plantations were an important aspect of the cultural history of the Caribbean. Mintz believed that the plantations tied the colonies in the Caribbean to the European country that was colonizing it. He states:
"the plantation system was an agricultural design for the production of export commodities for foreign markets- a means for introducing agricultural capitalism to subtropical colonial areas, and for integrating those areas with the expanding European economy"(Mintz 26).
The plantations of the Caribbean are also useful tools in learning more about the history of the island who once inhabited the island, as Benitez-Rojo states in his essay, From Plantation to Plantation,
"the plantations serve as a telescope for observing the changes and the continuities of the Caribbean galaxy through the lenses of multifold disciplines, namely economics, history, sociology, political science, anthropology, ethnology, demography, as well as through innumerable practices, which range from the commercial to the military, from the religious literary"(Benitez-Rojo 38).
The plantations in the Caribbean played a significant role in shaping each colony in the development from colonialism to the modern society. In the other readings in class, we learned that Michelle Cliff (Abeng) despised the plantation systems because the Europeans profited from the sugar plantations, which in turn was hurting the economy.
In her eyes, the Caribbean was exploited as the countries in Europe took all that would be advantageous to themselves and their people. Mintz believed that the plantation system was something positive that helped to shape each colony into what it presently is, he states "the plantation system was not only an agricultural device; it also became the basis for entire societal design"(Mintz 27). Benitez-Rojo, also believing that the plantation system was something positive, believed so because they created an economy in the primarily primitive Caribbean and it help them construct a structured economical system.
Slavery in the Caribbean also played the role of shaping each colony’s identity and culture. When Europe began importing and shipping in slaves from Africa into the colonies, miscegenation occurred. As a result of slavery, a diverse Caribbean was created. It was molded by each individual’s island history and how it dealt with slavery, the integration of cultures, acculturation, and colonialism. The importation of about four million African slaves to the Caribbean was mainly what made these islands the "melting pot" that it is today. Today, Cuba is one of the most racially...