Question: Compare the independence movements in the French and the Dutch Colonies (20 marks)
The path to independence for the Caribbean progressed gradually from emancipation until the end of the nineteenth century Caribbean people was shaking off the mental, psychological and emotional trauma associated with enslavement and bonded labour. The abolition of slavery in the various colonies did not result in any significant change in the social, economic or political welfare of ex-slaves as they struggled for equality, civil and constitutional rights all of which they were denied access. However, freedom from slavery created a demand for greater freedom, and as such began the movement to independence. This thirst for independence was further incited by other Caribbean neighbours like Haiti and Cuba early fighters and attainders of their independence- this gave impetus to other colonies in the nineteenth century to try and cease their sovereignty as they now view total autonomy as being very possible. The independence movement spread throughout the Caribbean, however, the colonies did not take the exact approach towards gaining full liberty although there were some striking similarities there were also some significant differences. Therefore, this essay seeks to make a comparison between the independence movements in the French colonies to that of the Dutch colonies. Comparison between the independence movements in the French and the Dutch colonies In the history of decolonization in the Caribbean there became a decisive era where the question of independence or continued colonization wavered over the colonies. The dramatic outbreaks of independence revolutions catapulted the Caribbean onto the world stage as majority of colonial and dependent territories in the Caribbean had reached a critical stage in the process of decolonization and nation building. As unwelcomed as it may have been, it also applied to the imperial countries of France and the Netherlands, that sought viable solutions to determine the future status of their respective colonies in the light of the independence ‘wildfire’ in the Caribbean. Comparatively, the former French-colonised territory of St Domingue and the Dutch colony of Suriname were the first islands of both colonies to achieve its independence. Although Haiti declared their independence by revolutionary means in 1804 during the era of slavery, renaming itself Haiti, while Suriname attain their sovereignty from the tripartite kingdom by means of negotiation in 1975 . Similarly to the French speaking territories the remaining Dutch colonies also opted to remained dependences from the era of the Charter of the Netherlands until presently with the exception of Curacao and St Maarten who are now independent of the Netherlands. While the government of France did not recognize independence as a legitimate goal for its colonial possession in the Caribbean, the Dutch however by the early 1970s wanted to ‘rid itself of its last colonies in a decolonizing world’ (Hoefte and Oostindie, 1991: 74). ” Unlike the population in France that did not support for independence grew in the Netherlands itself. In the same way that the government of France a law in 1946 which made the colonies ‘overseas departments of France’, the Dutch also passed The Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which largely underpins relations between the Netherlands and its territories as is similar to France, both the mother countries supposed principle was on the basis of self-governing autonomous countries. The Overseas Department also enacted a policy of integration and assimilation into French culture. In Contrast to the French that attempted assimilation on the intrinsic principle of the superiority of French civilization and culture. It felt that the different races, cultures and political systems in the French empire should be absorbed into the dominant system of the...
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