By Sherry Johnson
From 1750 to 1800, a severe interval that observed the yankee Revolution, French Revolution, and Haitian Revolution, the Atlantic global skilled a chain of environmental crises, together with extra widespread and serious hurricanes and prolonged drought. Drawing on historic climatology, environmental background, and Cuban and American colonial heritage, Sherry Johnson innovatively integrates the region's event with severe climate occasions and styles into the heritage of the Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic world.By superimposing this background of usual failures over the normal timeline of sociopolitical and monetary occasions in Caribbean colonial heritage, Johnson provides another research during which a number of the sign occasions of the Age of Revolution are noticeable as outcomes of ecological concern and of the ensuing measures for catastrophe reduction. for instance, Johnson reveals that the final adoption in 1778 of unfastened exchange within the Americas used to be catalyzed via acceptance of the cruel realities of nutrition shortage and the wishes of neighborhood colonists reeling from a chain of average failures. Weather-induced environmental crises and sluggish responses from imperial professionals, Johnson argues, performed an inextricable and, before, principally unacknowledged function within the upward thrust of innovative sentiments within the eighteenth-century Caribbean.
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Extra resources for Climate and Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution (Envisioning Cuba)
Over the summer of 1752, the southeastern coast of North America suffered from a severe drought that ended abruptly when two hurricanes struck the southern British colonies. The first storm hit Charleston, South Carolina, on 19 September, and the second hit the outer banks of North Carolina on 1 October. 4 The inordinately severe weather was not confined to the western hemisphere. . 6 This chapter establishes the hallmarks of the El Niño/La Niña cycle that ravaged the Caribbean— rapidly alternating periods of drought and deluge— and contextualizes their consequences within political, social, and economic conditions in Cuba.
The hinterland’s function was to provision the populated cities, and petty farmers outside Havana and Santiago de Cuba grew domestic subsistence crops such as yuca, other root crops such as boniato and ñame, plantains, squashes, and a variety of tropical fruits. On market days, they offered their crops for sale, along with chickens and other domesticated animals. As mentioned previously, large ranches maintained herds of cattle and swine, which, in addition to being one of the island’s primary exports, were shipped to the cities to provide fresh meat for the military garrison and the town residents.
Unsanitary conditions and starvation made the onset of disease almost inevitable. In September 1750, Captain General Francisco Antonio Cagigal de la Vega wrote of the prevalence of disease in Havana, which had claimed friends and relatives. ”30 The perilous ocean passage combined with the shock of seasoning took a heavy toll on Europeans. 31 For European bureaucrats and military personnel, duty in the Americas was notorious for its danger. Even seasoned veterans were not immune from the ravages of disease.
Climate and Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution (Envisioning Cuba) by Sherry Johnson