Ethnohistorical Research in the Hispanic Caribbean

  • Jalil Sued-Badillo


To many people’s surprise, the complementary use of documentary sources and anthropological tools - archaeology, linguistics, social theory, etc. - in the study of the Caribbean is not new, although it has not been known specifically as ‘ethnohistory’. It may be that as in other parts of the world, this type of handling of historical documentation was rather more occasional than systematic, and that its objective was more to study pre- colonial social groups than those who continued their lives after contact with the colonial State. However that may be, we should consider the development of the discipline in the region before we mechanically evaluate or judge it on the basis of external criteria that may be foreign to its particular circumstances. We might recall, for example, the introduction to the book Estudios de Folklore Venezolano by Miguel Acosta Saignes, published in 1962 by the Universidad Central de Venezuela, in which Acosta takes a Marxist point of view in carrying out an important critique of research on the folklore of various marginalized ethnic groups in Venezuela, the discipline that his study at the time was concerned with. This preliminary essay had great impact in the early sixties in Puerto Rico, for example, in spurring on some social scientists to become interested in the study of history. Nor is the interest shown by scholars in the Caribbean in becoming familiar with the early documentary sources new, even though these documents have, for the most part, been kept in the colonial archives at a great distance from those who were interested in seeing them.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    See Jalil Sued-Badillo, Introduction to Caribes: Realidad o Fabula, Rio Piedras: Editorial Antillana, 1978Google Scholar
  2. Peter Hume, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, London: Methuen, 1986Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    See Emiliano Tejera, Palabras Indigenas de la isla de Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo: Editorial del Caribe, 1953Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Coliy Toste, Cayetano, ‘Vocabulario de palabras introducidas en el idioma espanol procedentes del lenguaje Indo-Antillano’, Boletin Histôrico de Puerto Rico VIII (1921), pp. 294–352Google Scholar
  5. Manuel Alvarez Nazario, El Influjo Indigena en el Espanol de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1977Google Scholar
  6. Manuel Alvarez Nazario, Arqueologia Lingüistica, Rio Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1996Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    See Juan T. Roigy Mesa, Diccionario botânico de nombres vulgares cubanos, 2 vols., Havana: Ministerio de Agricultura, 1953Google Scholar
  8. Alain Liogier, Diccionario Botânico de nombres vulgares de la Espanola, Santo Domingo: Jardin Botânico Dr Rafael Moscoso, 1974Google Scholar
  9. Esteban Nûnez Melé ndez, Plantas Mé dicinales de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras: UPREstaciün ExperimentalAgricola, 1982Google Scholar
  10. L. Martorell é tal., Catâlogode los nombres vulgares y cientificos de las plantas de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1981Google Scholar
  11. Richard Howard, Flora of the Lesser Antilles, 3 vols, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974Google Scholar
  12. Dato Pagan Perdomo, Bibliografia General de la Isla de Santo Domingo, 2 vols, San Pedro de Macoris, Dom. Rep.: Universidad Central del Este, 1979Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    See Vicente Murga Sanz, El Consejo o Cabildo de la Ciudad de San Juan, (1527–1550), Rio Piedras: Editorial Plus Ultra (Histürica Documental de Puerto Rico series), 1956Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Aurelio Tio, Nuevas fuentespara la historia de Puerto Rico, San Germán, Puerto Rico: Ediciones de la Universidad Interamericana, 1961Google Scholar
  15. Ricardo Alegria, Elpleito por indios de encomienda entre el Ex-Contador Antonio Sedeho y el Contador Miguel de Castellanos, San Juan: Centro de Estudios Avanzados, San Juan, 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jalil Sued-Badillo

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations