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CARIBBEAN CULTURE AND BEYOND

Becoming acquainted with the history and heritage of the Caribbean goes a long way towards understanding its culture. Each of the Caribbean islands has a unique and distinct cultural identity that was molded by early European colonialists,the African slave trade, as well as indigenous Indian tribes. Its rich culture, set against a backdrop of crystal clear waters and never ending sunshine is what gives the Caribbean its lasting influence on travelers who visit the islands.


Becoming acquainted with the history and heritage of the Caribbean goes a long way towards understanding its culture. Each of the Caribbean islands has a unique and distinct cultural identity that was molded by early European colonialists, the African slave trade, as well as indigenous Indian tribes. Its rich culture, set against a backdrop of crystal clear waters and never ending sunshine is what gives the Caribbean its lasting influence on travelers who visit the islands.

Notwithstanding, its rich culture and heritage, the Caribbean lifestyle - as most tourists experience it - is unquestionably a product of its exotic, tropical setting. The architecture, music, attitudes and local customs have, in many ways, been influenced by the unique physical landscape and climate of the Caribbean. Today the cultures of the Caribbean are a harmonic mix of colonial mainstays as well as influences by major ethnic groups including the Africans and East Indians.

Barbados, sometimes referred to as "Little England", has retained enough of its British heritage to be perceived as more of a "western" culture. Aruba, has also retained British customs but tends to be more laid-back than Barbados.

Other islands, most notably Jamaica, retain very few of their original colonial customs. These islands rely heavily on their pre-colonial heritage and have distanced themselves from colonial influence or rule. Jamaica is a purely democratic state that is passionately self-sufficient but maintains a very peaceful existence among other Islands that are heavily influenced by Colonial heritage and governance. Its residents include a wide spectrum of characters, from staid English aristocrats to animated Rastafarians.

Aruba, once a Dutch colony, today retains only the slightest Dutch influence. The U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, etc.), acquired from the Dutch in the early 1900s, exude an American feel with a few lingering remnants of Dutch culture.

Unlike many of the Caribbean islands colonized by the early Europeans, the Dominican Republic is largely underdeveloped except for its capital Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is home to more than two million people and has many of the modern luxuries, as well as developed infrastructure, found elsewhere in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic is a mountainous country (located due east of Haiti) whose past is story of ongoing political turmoil.



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