Published Jun 2014
In October 1492, an Italian-born, Spanish-funded navigator thought he had discovered a new world, thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. In reality, though, Christopher Columbus had found the crucial ink that would connect the globe for the first time in human history. In Empire’s Crossroads, Carrie Gibson unfolds the story of the Caribbean from Columbus’s first landing on the island he named San Salvador to today’s islands – largely independent, but often still in thrall to Europe and America’s insatiable desire for tropical luxuries.
From the early years of settlement to the age of sugar and slavery, during which vast riches were generated for Europeans through the enforced labour of millions of enslaved Africans, to the great slave rebellions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the long, slow progress towards independence in the modern era, Gibson offers a vivid panoramic view of this complex and sometimes contradictory region.
From Cuba to Haiti, from Dominica to Martinique, from Jamaica to Trinidad, the story of the Caribbean is not simply the story of slaves and masters but of fortune-seekers and pirates, scientists and servants, travellers and tourists. It is a story not only of imperial expansion – European and American – but of global connections, and also f life as it is lived in the islands, both in the past and today.
A strikingly assured debut.
Packed with the stories of tyrants and insurgents, and images of violence and beauty…an exceptionally impressive debut.
Judicious, readable and extremely well-informed.
Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost
Vivid and thought-provoking.