Culture, history and a dramatic political legacy, these are what characterise Central America and the Caribbean. These are lands that have been defined by their ancient civilisations, colonial heritage and the rich mix of culture that has created the modern state. In Central America some of the world’s most ancient and progressive civilisations existed. The Aztecs, the Mayans and the Olmecs created vast cities, monuments and technology superior to much that was achieved in the rest of the world.
Much of this was lost through the great upheaval caused by European discovery of the region and their subsequent conquest of the people, territory and resources in Central America and the Caribbean. With the Europeans came political domination, slavery, colonialism and war but it also create a unique ethnic and cultural mix that has defined the development of the modern Central American and Caribbean states ever since.
With the collapse of Spanish, French and British rule the region has been the staging point for both great revolutions and bitter conflict. National movements of independence were followed by civil war and armed guerilla resistance and insurgency and conflict caused by drug cartels. However, through this all the region has continued to grow and develop, both economically and culturally.
The Caribbean has now become one of the world’s most influential cultural powers and through the intoxicating mix of drama, beauty and passion both Central America and the Caribbean have creates an intricate modern political environment which still lies much understudied and misunderstood.
“Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of history dissolves”.
Derek Walcott, (1930-Present) St Lucian Poet and Playwright