This six-volume UNESCO History of the Caribbean attempts to integrate the historical experience of its peoples and societies from the earliest times to the present. The work provides a comprehensive history, centered on the people and the landscape, written as much as was possible by Caribbean historians. It gives an account of what was common to all as well as what was peculiar to some, and affirms the cultural identity of the region.
The choice of themes has been determined, in part, by the decision to write a history of the region which is more than the sum of narratives of the islands and the lands adjacent and, in part, to avoid the whole work being dominated by the experiences common to the entire region through the primacy of sugar, slavery and the consequent military and political presence of the European powers. Space was found for peoples, societies, cultures and activities, less important than sugar and slavery, but significant enough to have left their mark on the contemporary culture of the Caribbean.
This volume looks at the ways historians have written the history of the region, depending upon their methods of interpretation and differing styles of communicating their findings. The chapters discussing methodology are followed by studies of particular themes of historiography.
The second half of the volume describes the writing of history in the individual territories, taking into account changes in society, economy and political structure. The final section is a full and detailed bibliography serving not only as a guide to the volume but also as an invaluable reference for the General History of the Caribbean as a whole.