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Latin American History: the Caribbean

Pirates and plunder! The history of the Caribbean is a fascinating one, full of extraordinary characters and events. Outposts on Cuba and Hispaniola were crucial to the early Spanish exploration of the New World. Later, the area became a crossroads of sorts, where the Spanish, English, French and other European powers all fought for control of the New World and the wealth that came with it.
  1. Caribbean Cities (2)
  2. Famous Pirates (14)
  3. Pirates, Buccaneers and Privateers (27)
  4. The Golden Age of Piracy (1700-1725) (11)
  5. The History of Cuba (15)

Biography of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa
Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (1475-1519) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer of the early colonial era. He is credited with leading the first European expedition to discover the Pacific Ocean (which he referred to as the "South Sea"). He was an able administrator and popular leader who cultivated strong ties with local tribes.

Haiti: The US Occupation, 1915-1934
In 1915, the government of the United States of America sent troops to occupy Haiti to put an end to recent anarchy and to defend US economic and military interests. Although the US rule was fairly benign, it was unpopular both in the United States and Haiti and forces were withdrawn in 1934.

Antonio de Montesinos
On December 4, 1511, Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos delivered a scathing sermon to the Spanish colonists on Hispaniola, criticizing them for enslaving the natives of the Caribbean. He was practically run out of town, but continued his work on behalf of better conditions for the natives until his death in 1545.

Biography of Jos Mart
Jos Mart (1853-1895) was a Cuban revolutionary and poet. Although he was not a soldier, he was a leading advocate for Cuban independence from Spain from the time he was sixteen years old. He died in combat against Spanish forces in Cuba in 1895 and is today revered as a Cuban national hero.

The Second Voyage of Christopher Columbus
The Second Voyage of Christopher Columbus

The First New World Voyage of Christopher Columbus (1492)
Christopher Columbus may have been looking for a new trade route to Asia when he set out in 1492, but he discovered something far more important. Columbus made several stops on his monumental first voyage, including the present-day Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola.

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484-1566) Part Two: Later Years
As Bartolomé de Las Casas aged, he became increasingly convinced the the Spanish needed to stop the horrors and abuses of the colonial system in the Americas.

Bartolom de Las Casas (1484-1566) Part One: Defender of the Indians
Biography of Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Part One

Biography of Pánfilo de Narváez
Biography of Pánfilo de Narváez, Spanish conquistador and explorer

Captain Morgan and the Sack of Portobello
On July 11, 1668, the legendary privateer captain Henry Morgan and a small army of corsairs and buccaneers attacked, overwhelmed and captured the city of Portobello in present-day Panama. They held the city for weeks until the governor of Panama agreed to pay a hefty ransom. Morgan was hailed as a hero in Jamaica and England. It led to renewed...

Captain Morgan and the Maracaibo Raid
In 1668, Privateer Captain Henry Morgan and some 500 buccaneers in a dozen ships attacked Lake Maracaibo in present-day Venezuela. When he had sacked the towns on the lake, Morgan suddenly found himself face to face with three Spanish warships. How would the legendary pirate escape?

Captain Morgan and the Sack of Panama
Captain Henry Morgan was a legendary Welsh privateer who raided Spanish towns and shipping in the 1660’s and 1670’s. After the successful sacking of Portobello and a daring raid on Lake Maracaibo made him a household name on both sides of the Atlantic, Morgan stayed on his farm in Jamaica for a while before Spanish attacks convinced him to once...

Captain Morgan, Greatest of the Privateers
Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was a Welsh privateer who fought for the English against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 1660s and 1670s. He is remembered as the greatest of the privateers, amassing huge fleets, attacking prominent targets and being the worst enemy of the Spanish since Sir Francis Drake.

The History of Port Royal
Port Royal is a town on the southern coast of Jamaica. It was originally colonized by the Spanish, but attacked and captured by the English in 1655. Because of its good natural harbor and key position, Port Royal quickly became a major haven for pirates and buccaneers, who were made welcome because of the need for defenders.

Black in Latin America: Haiti and the Dominican Republic - an Island Divided
Haiti and the Dominican Republic: an Island Divided is part one of the 2011 PBS series Black in Latin America.

The US Occupation of the Dominican Republic, 1916-1924
From 1916 to 1924, the United States of America militarily occupied the Dominican Republic. The primary reason for doing so was to protect American economic interests.

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