Discover the rhythms of the islands
On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the Island of San Salvador, which is now part of the Bahamas. This marked the first interaction between Europe and the Americas. Later in the same voyage, Columbus visited Cuba, and established the settlement of La Navidad on the Island of Hispaniola, which is now home to the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The ensuing colonial interactions between Europeans, indigenous Caribbean populations, African slaves, and later immigrant populations (such as Chinese and Indians) continue to define the region to this very day. These interactions have played out quite differently in each of the area's different islands and countries. Haiti, despite frequent upheaval, continues to carry on its legacy as the world's first independent Black republic. Cuba continues to maintain itself as a Marxist holdout, a mere 80 miles off the coast of the United States. Other islands remain closely tied to their colonial powers, such as Aruba (The Netherlands) and Bermuda (The United Kingdom).
All of the Caribbean islands, despite their political situations, have found ways to create distinct and unique identities for themselves, through the interaction of disparate cultures and influences. While this process has often been quite painful, it has also often been quite beautiful, and led to the development of amazingly rich cultures. This includes dance, literature, poetry, and world-renowned musical styles such as salsa, afro-Cuban jazz, reggae, and dancehall. The one thing identified with the Caribbean even more closely than its music is its beaches. The Caribbean is made up of the thousands of Islands, reefs, and cays that dot the Caribbean Sea. This tropical sea - which is part of the Atlantic ocean - is known for its warm blue waters, and beautiful beaches. People flock to the Caribbean from all corners of the world to soak in the sun, as well as the Islands' unique cultures and rhythms.