Two different stories of colonization

Hello all

The Suzanne vega song that I used to open lecture today is actually more complicated than I suggested in class.  A link to the lyrics is here:

She starts the song by talking about how she would be bereft without this person in her life--her world would be flat.  But then very quickly it's clear that this relationship is unrequited.  She talks about how those who "lust for gold" will never have you.  That is, there isn't really any contact or any meeting in this love story. So not only is the song a mark of how Columbus periodizes many peoples' histories, but it's also a mark of the ambivalence and complexity of that story of Spanish exploration.

Thanks to all of you who came up to me with questions after lecture.  One student asked the very appropriate question of why Guyana isn't discussed more in history textbooks.  That's a great question because in fact the people who lived there in the 15th century--the Arawaks and Caribs--were part of the story of Columbus' voyage.  The land was sighted by Columbus and, at first, Spain planned to conquer it.  Many of the Arawaks who lived there died from disease but Carib people put up effective resistance and it wasn't until the Dutch arrived in the 17th century that Guyana was effectively integrated into a European empire. So, I suspect one reason it doesn't get discussed is that it doesn't fit the narrative people have of easy conquest--Guyana was not easily conquered.  

I should add that Guyana remained an important place for posing questions about imperialism and the inevitability of racial separation.  Indigenous and African people escaping slavery established important settlements in Guyana in the 18th century and, by the 19th century, elites who established large plantations had to import indentured servants from Europe (especially from Germany, Malta, and Ireland) and India for workers.  Much of the population living there now has descended from these people. One of their most important political leaders was descended from Indian plantation workers; his wife, an American-born Jewish woman of European descent, also became president.  Even now Guyana remains a place that really challenges the meanings of European domination and the inevitability of racial separation.

I look forward to more questions and discussions about colonization and imperialism on Wednesday.  Good luck with the primary source assignment.



Sweetly written post chum. I mainly find stupid drivel, if ever I am surfing the web however this particular blog post has been like a breath of fresh air to me. Thanks to you for taking the time to make available this info to myself and also your other readers. Katherine.

Great post as usual - here is a little something that made me smile :)

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. :)

Glorious Site! I wished to ask if I'd be able to website some of your net page and use a couple of factors for a time period paper. Please drop me an electronic mail if its okay or not. Thanks

That is definitely some inspiring source. Didn't know that viewpoints could be this assorted. Thank you for all the enthusiasm you are offering such useful advice in this article.

Thank You for this article and please allow me to have the opportunity to show my satisfaction with Hostgator web hosting. They have professional and instant support and they also offer some HostGator discount coupons.

wheres your own rss feed? probably hidden in basic sight knowing me hehe.

Your pictures are great!! Im so jealous! You are so lucky.I was supposed to be there this week/weekend too:(I hope you get to see more today!! Keep updating!! Amazing!

Unquestionably imagine that that you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to keep in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get irked even as other people think about concerns that they plainly do not know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest as well as outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Tracey Deutsch published on September 14, 2009 9:54 PM.

Primary Source Essay was the previous entry in this blog.

Fur Trade Resources is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.