Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna

By Nancie L. Gonzalez | Go to book overview

3
Central American Settlement,
1800-1900

Anglo-Hispanic Competition for Hegemony

Upon arrival in Trujillo, the nearly 1,700 Black Caribs were quickly settled. Local opinions vary as to where their first houses were built, but most people believe they were divided between what is now the barrio Rio Negro on the east and the barrio Cristales, near the river of the same name on the western edge of the town. The Garifuna name for the former -- Garibalu (Spanish: Caribal; "place where Caribs live") -- suggests its primacy. They also were said to have lived on the slopes and crests of the hills behind Trujillo in 1804 (Vallejo 1889:124), so some Caribs must have settled inland, perhaps replicating the patterns described for them on St. Vincent. Settling such a large group must have posed logistical difficulties, since Trujillo had not been so heavily populated in some time. The town was one of the earliest Spanish settlements in Central America, having been founded in 1502, and had been repeatedly sacked by pirates; in fact, the port was officially abandoned after the Dutch demolished it in 1643. Some sort of settlement apparently remained, however, to be mercilessly ravaged again and again -- by the English in 1645 and 1688, and by the English and French in 1772. The fort was rebuilt in 1780, but Trujillo remained vulnerable to attack well into the twentieth century. 1

One source states that the British made their initial appearance in Central America during the time of Henry VIII, trading logwood from Belize in the early sixteenth century (CO 123/1). If so, it took them more than 100 years to regularize their presence, a concession from Spain finally having been granted in 1667 by the Treaty of Utrecht. Meanwhile, Cape Gracias a Dios was settled in 1634 by colonists from Providence Island, and from these two places the British gradually spread to some sixteen other locations in what are now

-51-

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Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Tables viii
  • Abbreviations x
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction - The Meaning of Ethnicity 3
  • Notes 11
  • Part One - Ethnohistory 13
  • 1 - The Lesser Antilles 15
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - The Deportation, 1797 39
  • 3 - Central American Settlement, 1800-1900 51
  • Part Two - The Cultural Bases of Ethnicity 75
  • 4 - The Ancestors: Heart of Garifuna Religious Expression 77
  • Notes 94
  • Notes 120
  • 6 - Work Identity and Ethnicity 125
  • 7 - Domesticity, Personality, and Perceptions of Self 144
  • Part Three - The Making of a Modern Ethnic Group 169
  • 8 - The Migratory Process 171
  • Notes 192
  • 9 - The Meaning of Development 194
  • Epilogue - The Unmaking of an Ethnic Group 213
  • References 217
  • Index 245
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