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Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 187–233 | Cite as

The archaeology of the Spanish contact period in the Caribbean

  • Kathleen Deagan
Article

Abstract

The arrival of Spanish conquistadors and colonists to the Caribbean in the late fifteenth century set in motion the processes that produced the post-1500 “New World.” The sixteenth-century cultural and ecological exchanges among Europe, Africa, and the Americas that took place during the early contact period greatly affected the social and economic patterns of life in both the Old and the New Worlds. Nowhere was this change manifest as profoundly and dramatically as in the sixteenth-century Caribbean. This essay explores the archaeological insights into the processes of encounter between the Amerindian peoples of the Caribbean region and the first permanent Europeans in the Americas and the responses of each to contact with the other. Archaeological research has informed our understanding of this seminal era in New World cultural development in important ways. It had also allowed the documentation of both the cultural and demographic disintegration of the Caribbean Indians and the formation of Euro-American culture.

Key Words

acculturation Antilles Caribbean colonization contact Cuba Florida Hispaniola Jamaica Puerto Rico Spaniards 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Deagan
    • 1
  1. 1.The Florida State MuseumUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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