map, 1715
Caribbean map, 1715

print, 1898
Caribbean print, 1898

The European encounter with the Caribbean, beginning in 1492, transformed societies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and directly affected the lives of millions of people. European colonization of the Caribbean decimated its indigenous population and built a system of plantation agriculture, based on the enslavement of Africans and the indentureship of primarily Asian laborers. During the nineteenth century, the United States also developed economic and political interests in the Caribbean. European and North American exploration and colonization of the region generated a vast literature of books, pamphlets, articles in periodicals, postcards and other types of publications. Publications often included maps, prints and, by the latter nineteenth century, photographs. These illustrations reveal how European and North American artists, authors, publishers and their readers visualized the geography, natural environment and peoples of the Caribbean over the course of several centuries.

This exhibition presents Caribbean maps, prints and photographs from the collection of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Most of these images were excised from the original publications by private collectors and dealers in maps and prints. The material ranges from the mid-sixteenth to the early twentieth century and represents European and North American perspectives on many of the islands of the Caribbean. By the nineteenth century, Caribbean peoples were increasingly creating their own images of their islands. Few of these images are represented in this exhibition.

The Exhibit | Overview | Exploration & Colonization | Towns & Cities
Agriculture & Rural Life | Natural History & Disasters | Government & Rebellions | Tourism


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