The Early Caribbean Digital Archive

The Early Caribbean Digital Archive is a collection of pre-twentieth century Caribbean texts, maps, and images, which include travel narratives, diaries, and poetry. These texts were collected with the intention to tell the story of European Imperial domination. The archive currently has 57 early Caribbean texts, of which 30 texts are prefaced with scholarly introductions, which explain why each text is significant in current studies. The stories of enslaved Africans and Indigenous Americans are explained throughout this collection to show that the lives of the Indigenous Americans and enslaved Africans truly shaped the culture and development of the Atlantic world. 

This archive is primarily developed by Europeans who use digital tools to constantly update and incorporate new content into the archive. The diaries in this collection have not been pieced together before as a single collection to focus only on the Caribbean, which makes it evident that the goal of this archive is to expand how we discuss and think about history, colonialism, and the experiences of enslaved Africans and Indigenous people in the Caribbean.

The Project team Professors, Aljoe, Dillion, and Doyle organize their collection in an extremely accessible manner, which aids those, like myself, who are not as technology inclined to easily have access to the archive’s texts, maps, and images. There are also connections across the materials, which grants a more comprehensive sense of the early Caribbean setting. To develop an archive similar to this, one would need to evaluate, retrieve, and arrange new collections of materials that have not been collected before and then be able to collaborate with a team to organize and archive the team findings. This would mean that each researcher would have to effectively evaluate and select the materials they choose to present to other team members. Using this archive, future archivists would learn how to develop unpresented materials into pieces that would aid in understanding history from a different aspect.