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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

V.D.4 - The Caribbean from 1492 to the Present

from V.D - The History and Culture of Food and Drink in the Americas
The arrival of Europeans transformed the ecology of the Caribbean basin, but it did so in an uneven manner. The Taino inhabitants of the Caribbean consumed foods that were quite different from those of Europe. Caribbean gardens and orchards became much more diverse as a result of the Columbian exchange. Sidney Mintz has demonstrated that Caribbean sugar plantations, although worked by slave labor, were managed as capitalist enterprises. Diet-related diseases ran the gamut from protein and vitamin deficiencies to hypertension and lead poisoning. By 1920, when the last indenture contract was canceled, Asians had made a significant impact on Caribbean culture and cuisine. Caribbean slaves, once freed from the plantations, proceeded to form what Mintz has called a reconstituted peasantry. The Caribbean people have been relatively slow to adopt the concept of nationalism, either within individual island states or as a pan-Caribbean phenomenon.
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The Cambridge World History of Food
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