Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, by Peter Hulme

By Peter Hulme

Europe encountered the United States in 1492, a gathering of cultures graphically defined within the log-book saved through Christopher Columbus. His tales of peaceable savages and vicious "cannibals" have shaped the matrix for all next descriptions of that local Caribbean society. The come across itself has obsesssed colonialist writing. It reappears within the early seventeenth century within the tale of John Smith and Pocahontas, and at the Jacobean degree within the figures of Prospero and Caliban. within the 18th century, over 200 years after the eu discovery of the Caribbean, the assumption of a pristine come across nonetheless permeated ecu literature via Robinson Crusoe's emblematic rescue of the Carib he referred to as Friday. The final model - the drastically renowned story of Inkle and Yarico - used to be modern with the ultimate army defeat of the rest local Caribbeans within the 1790s. Peter Hulme's specified analyses of those tales deliver to gentle the recommendations used to supply inside of colonial discourse a "savagery", which may be denied the best to own in legislation the land that it cultivated. This ebook might be of curiosity to undergraduates and teachers within the fields of Renaissance, 18th-century literature and post-colonial feedback.

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Extra resources for Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492-1797

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The influence of Columbus's Letter and, o ne must assum e, of the oral reports of the first voyage that circulated, especially in Seville an d its environs, were im m ediate. e. stealin g) a por ti on of everything he cou ld fin d: he took t wo parrots, very large and quite different trom any we had seen before ... a great quantity of cotton, both spun and prepared fo r spinnin g, an d arti cles of food .. besides these, he also brought awa y fo ur or five bones of h um an arm s and legs. On seeing these we suspected that the islands were those of C arib [las de Caribe), which are inhabited by peo ple who eat hum an fl esh.

Acco rding to O viedo, the wo rd at this point m eant in the nati ve language 'brave and daring ', w hich perhaps suggests that it had been adopted from Spanish usage as a badge o f courage and uni ty in the war of resistance, since the Spaniards employed it in fe ar. 46 They may, on the other hand , have called them selves ' C arib' before 1492; but there is no w ay of kno w in g. It seem s possible that Columbus's canihal was the native *kal1ibna, meaningful in Araw akan lan­ guages but probably not in Cariban.

T here is a paradox here, however , w hich has alw ays haunted anthropology. T he onset of hi story produces records: it becomes possible to in vestigate with a reassurin g ly textual basis. Yet the object of the in vestigation lies al ways j ust the other side of that grea t wvide: the prehistoric tr ibe before the moment of the colonial encounter, when it w as still in its pur e an d unadulterated state, en tirely different. W hat com plica tes matters is that m ethodologically that m o­ ment o f the colonial encounter is indeed crucial , but th e crux has nothing to do with the spurious prehistory/histo ry couplet.

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