Period of Slavery in Paradise

We often worry or even feel depression about the imperfection of our world. With each new tragic event, you try to understand: what’s wrong with us? How can humans do things that are inhuman? The history is full of the frustrating facts.

Perhaps, somewhere in the islands, there are romantic raiders. The cinematography presents us pirates and adventures. But there was another sad phenomenon which was lasted for more than 200 centuries. It is called the period of chattel slavery.

Once, the Italian named Christopher Columbus in the 15th century has discovered the land. He thought it was India, but it was a mistake. Several years later, Columbus has landed to the shore on the «Paradise Islands» called Lesser and the Greater Antilles. It was the Caribbean.

Columbus was impressed by the beauty of these places. The exuberant exotic vegetation has rimmed around the sea depths on the several elevation hills. There were the greenery of all shades, wet tropics and impenetrable jungles, magnolia flowers and ferns, coconut and banana palms, spices, coffee. A piercingly blue sky above the azure sea where always blows fresh wind.

Did he think then, how much suffer his discovery would bring to such a beautiful land? It was the beginning of the invasion Chattel Slavery.

The islands stretched between northern and southern America. Dozens of small pieces of land were a paradise for their indigenous inhabitants who lived on this fertile land. They were called Arawak, or the Lokono-nomadic. They went from one side of islands to another by canoes. Peaceful and wise Indians harmoniously existed together with local natures.

But there were other Indians. The Caribbean was an aggressive tribe of cannibals who came to the Arawak’s land. The Caribs ousted the Arawak, European colonization enslaved and destroyed the Caribs.

The first arriving settlers were Europeans, but it did not last for a long due to the brutality of the Caribs which at that time were already inhabited the all entire Antilles.

Leaving the Caribbean, white people took slaves with them to the mines of the new lands they’ve called a New World. They took all the local people, who could be enslaved.

For centuries, the Caribbean passed from hand to hand. The French found an approach to cruel Caribs and concluded a truce which gave them the strength to resist the British. It lasted more than 100 years. All the time there was an actual enslavement of the local people.

And here is a glimmer of hope, the French Revolution. But the liberated Indians used such a gift useless. Having abandoned work, the local population gathered in gangs. At that moment the English have finally entrenched in the Caribbean islands.

Still, unabated by the spirit, the Caribs raised the uprisings and fled to the mountains like once the Arawak did. Like the wild animals, they were pursued and hunted. Plantations were emptied, and black slaves began to appear everywhere. The British, unlike the French, saw on the islands the development of sugar cane, breadfruit trees, and spices. They imported hundred thousand slaves from West Africa. They were adamant. To the certain knowledge, 5 million slaves from Africa were brought to the small Antilles!

The tragedy of that time was in the widespread adoption of slavery and the complexity of confronting established views.

And I would like to believe that somewhere descendants of the wise Arawak are preserved as a symbol of eternal good.

The power of life that makes us fight for existence and development. And when you develop, you look at your mistakes and try not to make them again, sometimes it’s too late, but it also happens – it’s a chance to make yourself and the world better.

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