If we are fully to understand the conditions of mankind’s early presence in the Caribbean, one aspect we must carefully grasp is the climatic and geographical changes that occurred in the region as a consequence of the most recent glacial stage, the Wisconsin period, at the end of the Pleistocene. Secondary effects are difficult to determine in any great detail, but it is clear that periods of high rainfall or extended drought, rises and falls in the sea level, changes in vegetation and fauna, all as a result of the advances and retreats of the glaciers at the end of the Pleistocene and beginning of the Holocene, presented a changing backdrop of nature to the people that lived, developed, and evolved in the Caribbean region through a period of time that began, according to radiocarbon and geochronological dating, 32,000 years ago. (All dates to which reference is made in this chapter will be noted as ‘BP’, ‘before the present’.)
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.