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Jul 1, 2016

Historian Explains Caribbean Links to England’s Rise to Power

From a historic perspective, the Caribbean, according to Vice-Chancellor Beckles, has been central to England’s rise to power.  He contextualizes the history of England’s involvement in the region.

 

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor, U.W.I.

Sir Hilary Beckles

“The Caribbean has been at the center of all of this for the last four hundred years.  The Caribbean has been at the center of all of this transient patterns for the last four hundred years.  We must understand that Britain sought to take away this world from the Spanish.  The Spanish owned it, Britain took it from them.  All the pirates and buccaneers, all of that was British foreign policy mobilized to take it from the Spanish.  We were at the center of that, especially here in Jamaica at Port Royal.  Remember we gave a knighthood to Henry Morgan for taking the Spanish countries away and bringing them home to England.  We were all in the midst of this.  The trade laws of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the first global trade laws passed by the British, the navigation acts right through to the trade laws were designed to break the commercial dominance of Amsterdam and reassert London as the financial center of the world.  But to do that it had to break the power of the Dutch on the commercial seas as the center of international finance.  From Amsterdam it became London, the result of specific interactions.”

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