The Caribbean is a place rich with history and culture. But don't be fooled! Over the past 100 years, a lot has happened in these small Latin American countries. Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and Jamaica, have had a lot going on. From the Cuban Missile Crisis to the massacring of Haiti immigrants in the Dominican Republic, the people of the Caribbean have faced a lot of hardship. This web page will not only discuss important events in the history of these countries, but also about the people, the economy, and more. We hope that our Wikispace teaches you a lot about current events in the Caribbean.

Lara Cohen, Christine Lee, Celia Ryan, Lisa Vagnoni

external image 280px-Bourda-market.jpg external image bahamas0013.jpg external image colombiaprofile2.jpg external image 5429_image1_Haiti_0205_pkchild.jpg
http://www.alertnet.org/; http://www.acmphotography.com/; http://upload.wikimedia.org/; http://www.refugeesinternational.org/

Table of Contents

Click on links to jump to section.

Essential Questions | Files for Homework | Links for Homework

Dominican Republic | Cuba | Haiti | The Bahamas | Jamaica

General Info / Current Status | Assignment Files | Works Cited

Essential Questions

For Lara and Celia:
  • Who are a couple of important people in the Caribbean today?

  • What are the effects of tourism on Caribbean countries?

  • Why does the Caribbean play such a major role in the trade of illegal drugs?

For Christine and Lisa:
  • How do nuclear weapons affect the world today?

  • How do natural disasters affect the economy of Caribbean countries?

  • How do the Caribbean nations contrast with their common façade (i.e. on travel brochures)?

  • Why do countries that gained independence much earlier suffer more from political instability and severe economic problems than the countries that gained independence much later?

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Files for Homework:

Review of Timelines for Homework - due Tuesday, June 5th

Current Problems and Leaders Homework - due Thursday, June 7th

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Links for Lara and Celia:

Group 1:
Group 2:
Group 3:
Group 4:

Important People

Fidel Castro- Dictator of Cuba until 2006

Minerva Bernardino- Women’s right activist from Dominican Republic

Trujillo Molina- Dictator of the Dominican Republic

Jose Miguel Gomez- General in the Cuban Independence War and an important political figure

Hubert Ingraham -Current pres. of the Bahamas

P.J. Patterson –Former leader Jamaica

Jean-Claude Duvalier-Former leader Haiti

Bob Marley-Singer Jamaica

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Dominican Republic

external image 800px-LocationDominicanRepublic.svg.png

1902: Revolution breaks out.

1905: Government signs a treaty turning over customs collections to the U.S.

1916: On May 15, U.S. Marines invades to help to solve the disorder in Santo Domingo. US occupation in DR lasts until 1924.

1930: On September 3, a horrible hurricane kills 2,000 and injured 4,000.
1930: Rafael Trujillo (pictured right), an American trained National Guard general, becomes the dictator. Google Images

1936: The name of Santo Domingo is changed to Ciudad Trujillo by the dictator.

1937: Thousands of immigrants from Haiti are massacred in the DR. This was the basis for the book The Farming of Bones.

1947: One of the first attempts to throw over Trujillo (unsuccessful). Led by Carlos Prio Socarras.

1956-59: Disputes with the Japanese over land.

1959: The dictator stops their alliance with Cuba. This is soon after Castro came to power.

1961: Rafael Trujillo is murdered.

1962: This is the first free election since before Trujillo came to power. Juan Bosch Gavino is elected president.

1965: U.S. invades to stop a civil war.

1966: Joaquin Balaguer is elected president.

1978: The Revolutionary Party wins its first election, represented by Jose Pena Gomez.

1990: Inflation goes up to 100% .

1994: Balaguer is elected in a fishy campaign. Within that year, a journalist disappears after accusing him of fraud.

1998: This is the start of large waves of people from Haiti entering the Dominican Republic in search of work.

1998: The Dominican Republic and Cuba settles their differences and came to peace.

1999: Over 50 people are arrested in the Dominican Republic for relation to a large drug chain.

external image hipolito_mejia.jpg 2000: Hipolito Mejia (pictured left) is elected president after his opponents dropped out of the running. It is also estimated that 150,000 people in the Dominican Republic were infected with the HIV virus. Yahoo Images

2003: The Dominican Republic takes control of most of the media in the Caribbean. Economic chaos also erupts after 20% of the Dominican Republics GDP went into questioning.

2004: Schools, transportation, and businesses shut down for 2 days to protest the Dominican Republic’s worst economic situation in years. Dominican Republic also pulls troops out of Iraq.

2005: Decided that in the next year all elementary schools would teach English. There was also an extreme rise in homicide rate.

Highlighting Important Events:

The 1937 Massacring of Haitians: In October of 1937 over 20,000 Haiti immigrats living the the Dominican Republic were massacred, under the dictation of Rafal Trijilo. He ordered his army to attack the umarmed immigrants most of whom were living close the border, but also others located in Cibao. Men, women, and children were attacked in Trijilo's hopes of gaining support from the people of the Dominican Republic. But, in the end, his actions only made the people of his country hate him. After his brutal actions, the United States refused to have anything to do with the government of the country, but did not force Trijilo out of power.

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external image 800px-LocationCuba.svg.png

1902: Cuba becomes independent; US able to intervene in Cuban affairs.

1909: Jose Miguel Gomez becomes president following his rebellion, but soon becomes corrupt.

1925: Socialist Party founded, will later form the Communist Party.

1934: The US abandons its right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs, revises Cuba's sugar quota and changes tariffs to favor Cuba.

1953: Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful revolt against the Batista regime.

1956: Castro lands in Cuba from Mexico and, aided by Ernesto "Che" Guevara, he wages a guerrilla war.

Che Guevara discusses communism:

1959: Castro (pictured below) leads a 9,000-strong guerrilla army into Havana, forcing Batista to flee. Castro becomes prime minister, his brother, Raul, becomes his deputy and Guevara becomes third in command. Yahoo Images

1961: US sponsors an abortive invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs; Castro proclaims Cuba a communist state and begins to ally it with the USSR. The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful invasion by armed Cuban exiles in southwest Cuba, planned and funded by the United States. It was an attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

castro.jpg1962: Cuban missile crisis ignites when, fearing a US invasion, Castro agrees to allow the USSR to deploy nuclear missiles on the island. The crisis was subsequently resolved when the USSR agreed to remove the missiles in return for the withdrawal of US nuclear missiles from Turkey.

1976: Cuban Communist Party approves a new socialist constitution; Castro elected president.

1991: Soviet military advisers leave Cuba following the collapse of the USSR.

1993: The US tightens its embargo on Cuba, which introduces some market reforms in order to stem the deterioration of its economy. These include the legalization of the US dollar, the transformation of many state farms into semi-autonomous cooperatives, and the legalization of limited individual private enterprise.

1996: US trade embargo made permanent in response to Cuba's shooting down of two US aircraft operated by Miami-based Cuban exiles.

1999 Nov: Cuban child Elian Gonzalez (pictured right) is picked up off the Florida coast after the boat in which his mother, stepfather and others had tried to escape to the US capsized. A huge campaign by Miami-based Cuban exiles begins with the aim of preventing Elian from rejoining his father in Cuba and of making him stay with relatives in Miami.external image 1.jpg

2000 June: Elian allowed to rejoin his father in Cuba after prolonged court battles.

2000 October: US House of Representatives approves the sale of food and medicines to Cuba.

2001 Nov: US exports food to Cuba for the first time in more than 40 years after a request from the Cuban government to help it cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle.

2002 April: Diplomatic crisis after UN Human Rights Commission again criticises Cuba's rights record. The resolution is sponsored by Uruguay and supported by many of Cuba's former allies including Mexico. Uruguay breaks off ties with Cuba after Castro says it is a US lackey.

2002 May: US Under Secretary of State John Bolton accuses Cuba of trying to develop biological weapons, adding the country to Washington's list of "axis of evil" countries.

2003 June: EU halts high-level official visits to Cuba in protest at the country's recent human rights record.

2004 Oct: President Castro announces ban on transactions in US dollars, and imposes 10% tax on dollar-peso conversions.

2005 May: Around 200 dissidents hold a public meeting, said by organizers to be the first such gathering since the 1959 revolution. July: Hurricane Dennis causes widespread destruction and leaves 16 people dead.

2006 Feb: Propaganda war in Havana as President Castro unveils a monument which blocks the view of illuminated messages - some of them about human rights - displayed on the US mission building. July: President Fidel Castro undergoes gastric surgery and temporarily hands over control of the government to his brother, Raul.

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external image 800px-LocationHaiti.svg.png

1915: US invades Haiti due to political instability that posed threat to US property and investments in Haiti.

1934: US withdraws troops from Haiti, but continues to have financial control until 1947.

1957: François “Papa Doc” Duvalier (pictured right) is elected president with the promise to restore power to the blacks.external image fr_duvalier57.jpg Yahoo Images

1964: Duvalier declares himself president-for-life and establishes a dictatorship with the help of his personal police force, the Tontons Macoute.

1971: Duvalier dies. His 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” succeeds him as president.

1986: Jean-Claude is forced to leave Haiti due to popular discontent and frequent rallies against his regime. The National Council of government is established under Lieutenant General Henri Namphy as head of a governing council.

1987: A new constitution is approved for a president, a prime minister, and a two-chamber legislature.

1988: The first elections in three decades is held, but failed to attract people due to allegations of widespread fraud.

1990: Jean-Bertrand Aristide (pictured below) is elected president. Yahoo Images

external image 080604aLnAristide.jpg1991: Aristide is abducted and deported. A military government under Lieutenant General Raoul Cédras is established. US trade embargo is imposed.

1994: US aids in return of Aristide and a civilian government.

1995: René Préval is elected president.

2000: Aristide is elected president again, but with allegations of electoral fraud.

2002: Haiti is approved as a full member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) trade bloc.

external image cite_soleil1.jpg2004 Jan-Feb: Rebels seize towns and cities in violent uprisings against President Aristide. Aristide is exiled, and an interim government takes over.

2004 May-Sept: Severe floods kill nearly 5,000. UN peacekeepers and international aids arrive.

2006: Rene Preval is elected president again. Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard takes office of a democratically-elected government.

2007: UN troops launch tough offensive against armed gangs in Cite Soleil (pictured right), one of the capital's largest and most violent shantytowns.
Google Images

Highlighting Important Events:

Independence to US Occupation: Haiti, a former French colony, was the first black republic to gain independence (1804) and remains the only nation ever to form from a successful slave rebellion. However, most of its recent history has been marked by political violence, instability, poverty, dictatorship, and environmental degradation. Throughout the nineteenth century, Haiti goes through numerous rulers that remained in office very briefly. The country was even occupied by the United States in 1915 due to political instability within the country. The United States left Haiti in 1934 and left the power to the mulatto minority.

The Duvaliers: Amidst disorder, Dr. François “Papa Doc” Duvalier stepped in with the promise to restore power to the blacks. He came to power with his win in the country’s first universal suffrage election in 1957. However, many believe that the outcome had been manipulated by the army. In 1964, he declared himself president for life and establishes a state of dictatorship. His personal police force, the Tontons Macoute, also helped him to instill a state of constant fear within the people. After his death in 1971, his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier succeeds him as president. He also declared himself president for life, but was forced to flee the country due to frequent demonstrations against his regime in 1986. Both rulers are marked by corruption, autocracy, and reliance on private armies to maintain power. Tens of thousands of people were killed under their 29-year rule.

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The Bahamas

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1920-33: The Bahamas economy prospers because of US’s Prohibition when it became a hub for smuggling illegal goods

1945: Following the end of WWII, the tourism economy takes off in the Bahamas, bringing much prosperity to mostly the white minority/elite.external image image?id=65624&rendTypeId=4

1967: PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) gains control of the government; purpose was to champion the cause of the black minority in the Bahamas.

1964: British grants the internal autonomy; Pindling becomes president; party works for colonies independence.

1973: July 10: Bahamas receives independence.

1990s: Tourism begins to grow and wealth disperses among people; a black middle class emerges

1992 August: Free national movement won elections; Ingraham (pictured right) is president. Yahoo Images

Highlighting Important Events:

The Bahamas in the last hundred years have changed a lot and made many advances in their country. The goal for the Bahamas of independence was achieved in 1973, through taking many smaller steps towards independence such as becoming self-governing and achieveing stability. From there The Bahama’s economy took off thanks to large tourism and financial (banking) industries. Tourism became the Bahamas largest source of income, taking advantage of their beautiful landscape and convenient location. They have also worked hard towards dispersing the wealth among all Bahamians, trying to rid the country of poverty.

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external image 800px-LocationJamaica.svg.png

1958 Jan 3: Becomes part of the united federation of the West Indies.
external image gilbert_md.jpg
1962 Aug 6: Gains independence.

1962 April: JLP won elections and Sir Alexander Bustamante becomes prime minister.

1967: Seharer succeeded him.

1968: Founding member of the Caribbean Free Trade area.

1972: PNP (People's National Party) comes to power. Manley becomes a leader with leftist policies and a open friendship with Fidel Castro, which many were not happy with.

1980: Manley is voted out, but the election results in 800 deaths from party vs. party violence, which continued in many elections later in history. JLP party (Seaga) becomes leader. Jamaica severs ties with Cuba and strengthened ties with US.

1988 Sept: Hurricane Gilbert (pictured above)caused $8 billion in property damage and left 500,000 Jamaicans homeless.external image 20051026T140000-0500_7160_JIS_STATEMENT_IN_PARLIAMENT_BY_PRIME_MINISTER_MOST_HONOURABLE_P_J__PATTERSON__ON__PC__QC__MP_ON_JAMAICA_S_SUGAR_INDUSTRY_1.jpg
Google Images

1989: PNP and Manley returned to power.

1992 March: Manley resigns due to poor health. Patterson (pictured left), the first African American prime minister, of PNP party succeeds him. Yahoo Images

1997: PNP elected for a third time with a good amount of support; least violent election in some time.

2002: PNP wins again, Patterson continues to lead promising to lower murder rate and improve the economy.

Highlighting Important Events:

Like many countries in the Caribbean, Jamaica has benefited greatly from the tourism industry. They are also trying very hard to disperse wealth among their people. Jamaica slowly achieved independence from The United Kingdom in 1962, after becoming a province. Jamaica's current history, since its independence, has mainly consisted of changes in power and government as they work towards an efficient government. But many problems have stood in their way, such as extreme election violence between parties and gang violence that resulted in the closing of many Jamaican schools.

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General Information / Current Status:


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Assignment Files:

Christine and Lisa's Powerpoint Presenatation for Skits

Christine and Lisa's Lesson Plan

Ways of Life-Caribbean

Timeline of the whole Caribbean from Celia and Lara's Presentation

Celia and Lara's Lesson Plan

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Works Cited:

Barlas, Robert. Bahamas. Cultures of the World. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2000.

BBC News 10 Feb. 2007. 13 May 2007 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/‌2/‌hi/‌americas/‌country_profiles/‌1202857.stm>.

Christophe, Marc A., Ph.D. “Haiti.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2007. Upper Merion Area High School Lib., King of Prussia, PA. 8 May 2007

"Commonwealth of the Bahamas." Culture Grams. 10 May 2007

“Dominican Republic." CIA-The World Factbook. 17 Apr. 2007. Central Intelligence Agency. 8 May 2007.

“Fidel Castro.” American Experience. 2005. PBS. 29 May 2007 <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/castro/>.

“Fidel Castro: Biography.” The Cuban Experience: People. 1998. ThinkQuest. 29 May 2007 <http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/fidel_castro.html>.

"Jamaica." Culture Grams. 10 May 2007 <http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com>.

“Jose Miguel Gomez.” The Cuban Experience: People. 1998. ThinkQuest. 29 May 2007 <http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/jose_miguel_gomez.html>.

MacLeod, Murdo J. “Haiti.” Latin American History and Culture. Ed. Barbara A. Tenenbaum. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996. 163-170.

Ng Cheong-Lum, Roseline, and Leslie Jermyn. “History.” Haiti. 2nd ed. Cultures of the World. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2005. 17-29.

“Rafael Leanidas Trujillo Molina.” Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 2007. Microsoft Corp. 29 May 2007 <http://encarta.msn.com>.

“The Bahamas, Jamaica.” Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe. CD-ROM. Disk 2. 2004 ed. Microsoft.

United States. Central Intelligence Agency. “Haiti.” The World Factbook. Potomac, 2007. 15 May 2007. 17 May 2007

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