Caribbean Heritage [Part 1 of 3]

The Caribbean was first explored by Christopher Columbus. It was named after the CARIB, a warlike tribe of cannibalistic Indians that inhabited some of the Lesser Antilles at the time of the European conquest.

Over 7,000 islands make up the Caribbean lsles, forming a great arc that stretches from Florida to Venezuela and enclosing the Caribbean Sea. The cuisine of the islands can be best summarized as tropical, the result of an incredible array of beautiful food that grows in an area best known for its beaches and warm, fragrant breezes. Some of the countries and islands found in the Caribbean include Bahamas, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Antilles, Guadeloupe, Grenada. Hispaniola and Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and The US Virgin Islands -among others.

The Caribbean Sea is a partially enclosed body of water in the Western Hemisphere, a western extension of the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by South America (Venezuela, Colombia) on the south, Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico) on the west, and the islands of the West Indies on the north and east. The Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Yucatan connects the Caribbean Sea with the Gulf of Mexico, numerous passages between the islands join it to the Atlantic, and the Panama Canal furnishes access to the Pacific Ocean. The total area of the Caribbean Sea is about 2,500,000 sq. km (965,000 sq mi). Several Ocean Deeps extend to depths greater than 7,000 m (23.000 ft). The greatest measured depth is the Bartlett Deep (7,239 m/23,744 ft) in the Cayman Trench between Cuba and Jamaica.

The Caribbean Sea is of major importance for international shipping to and from the Panama Canal and for its natural resources, including oil. It is also a major tourist and recreation area of the Western Hemisphere.

The Spanish were the first to have placed foot on Haiti soil (Island of Hispaniola) in 1492. In the 17th Century the French settled in certain areas and in 1967 they were offered Haiti. The French imported many Africans to Haiti this is how Haiti obtained its African, Spanish, French culinary influences.

Diverse Culture
Caribbean culture is a diverse and complex blend of many original cultures from all corners of the globe. The Caribbean people have struggled and strive to maintain ties with their ancestral links while creating something entirely new and different. That is why wherever you go in the Caribbean, you will find a wonderful blend of the old and the new; a melding of European and African influences, Asian and Middle Eastern components, and the new forms which themselves cannot necessarily be traced to any other origin than that of the “Caribbean”.

The twentieth-century migration of Caribbean peoples northward has produced yet another form of Caribbean culture as diasporic communities interact with their North American and European environs. The most notable example of this is the preponderance of Carnival-type festivals held in a growing number of major metropolitan cities throughout the globe.

It is known that North America has benefited from immigration. Immigrants have long been the innovators and the catalyst for economic revitalization of the world economy. The value of labor from the Caribbean can be seen in our local hospitals, schools, farms and in the halls of local, state and federal government throughout the country and the world.

Unique Language​
Arising first during the period of slavery, Creole languages were a result of the forced migration of African peoples to work on the plantations throughout the region. Simply put, Creole or patois language is a combination of African syntax (sentence structure) with a European lexicon (words). The ensuing combinations of French and African produced the French Creole, spoken (with national variations) in Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Lucia, Dominica and French Guyana. In the Dutch­ influenced islands, the combination of Dutch, Portuguese, English and African resulted in Papiamento and in Jamaica, Patwa.