A considerable number of books, written between the 1650s and the 1990s, can make some claim to be categorized as a ‘regional history’. In a few cases they are explicitly and in reality pan-Caribbean histories covering the region’s recorded history since the arrival of the Europeans to the author’s own lifetime, though we shall see that definitions of what constituted the region have differed considerably among these writers. In many more cases they seek to examine the origins and development of a significant group of Caribbean territories, paying some attention to the wider regional context, and taking a similarly broad chronological sweep. Typically, such works deal with the Caribbean colonies (and ex-colonies) of a particular European state. Others take a pan-Caribbean approach but deal with a more limited chronological period; such books will be considered in this chapter if they focus on a fairly lengthy period, at least a century. In general, a regional history does not focus narrowly on a particular theme or institution, nor on a single island or territory, nor on a short period. It tries to provide a connected narrative and interpretation of the history of the region, or a significant sector of the region, over a period of one or more centuries. Academic works, books intended for a popular readership and school texts are all studied in this chapter.
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