The Caribbean

Las Indias

The arrival of Europeans proved disastrous for the people of the Caribbean. Within 20 years, it is estimated that native population of Hispaniola dropped from one million to 30,000.

The Spaniards settled first on the island of Hispaniola and later moved on to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, forcing the Tainos to mine for gold. The local population quickly declined as a result of mistreatment, flight, disruption of agriculture, and disease. African slaves were imported as early as 1502 to replace the dwindling labor supply.

As mining decreased, the Spanish introduced livestock, crops, and fruit trees. Cattle ranching and sugarcane became important and a stable Spanish society took hold in the large islands. The Caribbean played a crucial role as a staging ground for further exploration and conquest, and as a strategic defensive point for the Spanish empire.

Continue the Voyage with Middle America: New Spain or abandon ship and use the Outline.