Historical Museum of Southern Florida

VISIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN

EXPLORATION AND COLONIZATION

Map, 1609
Greater Antilles, 1609

Exploration and colonization of the Caribbean transformed European knowledge of the world's geography and inspired extensive mapmaking. Mapping of the Caribbean islands and surrounding mainland was essential for navigation, administration, commerce and warfare. Following 1492, Spain claimed the entire Caribbean. During the seventeenth century, England, France and the Netherlands challenged Spanish hegemony and established their own Caribbean colonies.

Greater Antilles, 1920
Greater Antilles, 1892  

map of BarbadosGuadeloupe map, 1758
Barbados and Guadeloupe  

European countries mapped both their own possessions and those of their rivals. Over the centuries, maps revealed increasingly accurate geographic knowledge, as well as rivalries between European powers. Maps from different time periods show how islands changed hands in relation to the outcomes of European wars, fought both on the European continent and in the Americas.

Carib Indians
Caribs, 1631 and 1724  

During the early period of colonization, Europeans were fascinated with the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, primarily Arawak-related groups and Caribs. Indian cultures differed greatly from those of the Old World and challenged Europeans' understandings of themselves. Drawings of Caribbean Indians illustrate their unique cultural practices, along with their encounters with Europeans. Some illustrations portray Indians and Europeans engaged in warfare, while others are idealized representations of peaceful relations.

Next: Towns & Cities

VISIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN
The Exhibit | Overview | Exploration & Colonization | Towns & Cities
Agriculture & Rural Life | Natural History & Disasters | Government & Rebellions | Tourism

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OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA

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