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Displaced Minorities: The Wayuu and Miskito People

  • Christian CwikEmail author
Reference work entry
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Abstract

Among the many displaced indigenous minorities in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Wayuu of northern South America and the Miskito of eastern Central America took on a specific role. On the one hand, both ethnic groups are the result of displacement triggered by the Conquista and the transatlantic slave trade, and on the other hand both kept strong ties to non-Spanish European powers such as the English, the Dutch, and the French which gave them access to alternative markets. During the so-called independence period of the early nineteenth century, the territories of the Miskito and the Wayuu remained largely autonomous because of British protection. It was not until the mid of the nineteenth century that the young Latin American nation states succeeded in invading the area in their struggle for territorial integrity but failed because the British protected them against all these attempts. The situation changed when the USA came into dispute with the UK over steamship routes, coal storages, and the establishment of interoceanic connections, although both Nicaragua and Honduras and Colombia and Venezuela finally succeeded in incorporating the still unconquered areas into their state territory at the beginning of the twentieth century and even though the two now transnational ethnic groups were able to maintain autonomous structures. Since the 1960s civil and drug wars as well as guerrilla activity in Central America and in Colombia and Venezuela increased, which again led to mass murder and displacement of Wayuu and Miskito which persist in the case of Wayuu to this day.

Keywords

Genocide Maroonage Zambo Proto-states Imperialism Autonomy Displacement Sandinism Drug war 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryThe University of the West IndiesSt AugustineTrinidad and Tobago

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sérgio Luiz Cruz Aguilar
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculdade de Filosofia e CiênciasSao Paulo State UniversityMaríliaBrazil

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