Historiography of the French Antilles and French Guyana
The historiography of Martinique and Guadeloupe1 may be divided into four main periods or stages. In the first period (1493–1800) the writers of history were often eyewitnesses; they recorded ‘history’ as they conceived it, but are regarded by modern historians as ‘sources’. Among the first of these were the sailors who followed in the wake of the Spanish discoverers and took part in maritime colonial expeditions from western France, then missionary chroniclers who recorded the establishment of colonies by the French monarchy in the seventeenth century, and finally, in the eighteenth century, planters who wrote institutional histories.
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