Throughout the tortuous history of the Caribbean region nothing exceeded in fundamental importance the twin experiences of slavery and the plantation system. Together these two overlapping experi- ences constituted the paramount defining episode of Caribbean social reality. Together they produced for the Caribbean its historical watershed, its illustri-ous moment, its before and its after. No other occurrence came close to that, including the accidental arrival of Christopher Columbus and his ‘doom burdened caravels’ in 1492.
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