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Chapter 5 THE CARIBBEAN LEARNING OBJECTIVES - This chapter introduces the Caribbean, a region of great cultural diversity, which bears the imprint of its history of colonialization. - This chapter provides the opportunity to compare and contrast two seemingly similar regions, Latin America and the Caribbean. By comparing and contrasting the two regions (which are very dissimilar), it will become apparent why the authors have chosen to separate them into different regions. - The authors introduce the concept of plantation agriculture, which brings with it a number of physical and cultural changes, including mono-crop cultivation, seasonal labor (and seasonal unemployment), migration, and sometimes the introduction of a matriarchal society. Plantation agriculture has played an important role in other regions as well. Understanding the plantation system will be an aid to understanding other regions, too. - Tourism is introduced here as an important economic activity. - After studying this chapter, the student should be able to identify the countries of the Caribbean and locate specific physical features in the region. - In addition, the student should understand the following concepts and models: · Plantation agriculture, “Plantation America” · Monocrop production · Intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) · Hurricanes · African diaspora · Maroon societies · Free trade zones · Circular and chain migration · Monroe doctrine · Offshore banking --------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- ------------------------- ------------------------------------------ CHAPTER OUTLINE I. Introduction The Caribbean contains 25 countries and dependent territories, located predominantly in or on the Caribbean Sea. In addition to the many islands in the region, Belize (in Central America) and the three Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana) on the continent of South America are also included as part of the Caribbean region. Rival European powers battled each other for control of the region, but early in the 1900s, the United States became the dominant geopolitical force in the Caribbean. Agricultural activity (including plantations) remains important in this region, and population densities are high. Environmental problems abound. Caribbean countries are looking to tourism, offshore banking, manufacturing, and nontraditional exports (e.g., flowers) to reduce dependence on the exports of primary sector products (especially plantation crops). There are marked disparities in individual wealth in the countries of the Caribbean and among 55
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people within individual countries as well. This region illustrates the concept of isolated proximity , in which geographic isolation of the Caribbean sustains its cultural diversity and limited economic opportunities, while its proximity to North America provides it with transnational connections and economic dependence. II. Environmental Geography:
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This note was uploaded on 05/06/2008 for the course GEOG 1001 taught by Professor Baksi during the Spring '07 term at LSU.

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