Letters to the Editor

On “Why Caribbean History Matters”

Thomas August, May 2014

To the Editor:

My only critique of Lillian Guerra's article (Perspectives, March 2014) is that it did not go far enough in underscoring the historical importance of the region. For anyone teaching or trying to understand world history, the study of the Caribbean is essential. There really was no more important part of the globe in the early-modern world economy than the Caribbean. In 1763, for example, England considered ceding its control over Canada to France in exchange for keeping just one island, Guadeloupe. That is how important sugar and slavery were to the world economy at that time. One could also add the geopolitical and economic significance of the Caribbean as one of the most significant sea-lanes since 1500. It was through its ports and waters that New World gold and silver traveled to Spain or attracted pirates from Spain's rivals at the time. With Atlantic history emerging as one of the most compelling fields of historical study in the last several decades, it is amazing that one still needs to ask the question: why does Caribbean history matter? But ask it, we must do.

Thomas August, PhD 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin




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