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David Wheat
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI 48824-3407)
Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

This book documents African influences in the formations of Spanish Caribbean society, with emphasis on maritime networks, coerced and free migration, and the transmission of socioeconomic roles. Unlike better-studied Spanish American viceroyalties with vibrant native populations, the early colonial Caribbean contained substantial black majorities. This chapter in the history of the African diaspora remains virtually unknown. Rather than envisioning the region as a "backwater," my project places the Spanish Caribbean in the context of a broader African and Portuguese maritime world. The histories of the Cape Verde Islands, Elmina, Sao Tome, and Luanda provide important models for viewing African roles that have long been invisible in Caribbean history. This study will be the first to address the early Spanish Caribbean's unique relationship to Atlantic Africa, and one of very few focusing on the experiences of Africans and their descendants in the early colonial Caribbean.

[Grant products][Media coverage][Prizes]

Project fields:
History, General

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 8/31/2013