The subject of Volume II of the "General History of the Caribbean" is the evolution of Caribbean society through the intrusion of Europeans. Possibly the most significant event in Caribbean history was when Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas on 12 October 1492, thus ending the biological isolation of the American continent. This volume examines the dramatic changes in politics, society and culture which occurred between 1492 and 1650. These changes are studied in conjunction with the rapidly dwindling presence of the indigenous Amerindian population and the increasing numbers of Spanish, English, French and Dutch settlers. The book argues a new Caribbean environment had come into existance, by means both natural and socio-economic, transforming the autochthonous society which had been caught up in 15th and 16th century European expansionism.
The Caribbean environment and early settlement, David Watts; the initial linkage with America - a general framework, Ruggiero Romano; the establishment of primary centres and primary plantations, Frank Moya Pons; Spanish expansion in America 1592 to c.1580, Horst Pietschmann; French, English and Dutch in the Lesser Antilles - from privateering to planting, c.1550-1650, Anne Perotin-Dumon; forced African settlement - the basis of forced settlement - Africa and its trading conditions, Enriqueta Vila Vilar with Kim Klooster; native society and the European occupation of the Caribbean islands and coastal Tierra Firme, 1492-1650, Neil L. Whitehead; the city in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1492-1650, Alfredo castillero-Calvo; intellectual, artistic and ideological aspects of cultures in the new world, Gustavo Martin-Fragachon; the cartography of the Caribbean, 1500-1650, David Buisseret.