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The Making of a Chronicler of the Caribbean People's Fight for Freedom.

Allow me to tell you something about myself and the source of my passion for Caribbean History.

My name is Desmond Bollers. My primary focus is on how the peoples of the Caribbean resisted oppression during the period from the arrival of the Europeans in 1492 to when the last of the freedom wars by enslaved Africans ended in Cuba in 1878.

From a young age I always had a keen interest in history and so for my first degree at the University of Guyana, I studied History including West Indian History, the History of Slavery and Latin American History. I also studied Spanish and French.

After earning a Post-Graduate Diploma and a Master’s degree both in International Relations from the Institute of International Relations of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, I worked in the Guyana diplomatic service and at the Caribbean Community Secretariat which afforded me the opportunity to travel widely in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. In the Caribbean in addition to Guyana and Trinidad, I have lived in Barbados, Montserrat and St. Lucia and I have also visited The Bahamas, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and Venezuela.

What occurred to me subsequently was that the educational system had failed me and my fellow students because the courses we were taught at university barely made any mention of the way in which our enslaved African ancestors fought back. While there were a few individuals whose names were listed, by and large they were not given any recognition. Even the Haitian Revolution and the valiant struggles of the maroons usually received just a brief mention. So, I decided to correct this situation by searching out this information on my own. Over time I learned the names and stories of these heroic persons who refused to be cowed into submission.

It further occurred to me that the Native Americans of the Caribbean had been dealt with in a similarly dismissive manner. We all know the stories of how the 'Indians' of North America resisted European aggression and I always wondered did the Native Americans of the Caribbean fight back and if so, how? While the history books make occasional passing references to their resistance, their stories are not given the coverage they deserve. Their names were usually not mentioned in books about West Indian history and their stories are generally unknown. Here again, I decided to correct this situation by searching out this information on my own. Over time I learned the names and stories of these heroic persons who refused to be dispossessed of their lands and enslaved without a fight.

Considering my interest in Latin American history and the fact that I was literate in both Spanish and French I broadened my horizon beyond the traditional ‘West Indian History’ to immerse myself in the history of the entire Caribbean – the islands and the territories that border the Caribbean Sea as well as those territories that are not geographically part of the Caribbean but were integrated into the plantation/slavery economy. The combination of my foreign language skills, my interest in Latin America, my background in international relations and my travels within the region has allowed me to approach the study of our history from a pan- Caribbean perspective.

Over the course of three decades, I amassed a great deal of information about how the peoples of the Caribbean – first the Native Americans then the Africans - resisted dispossession, domination and oppression. This is information that can’t be found in any single textbook or series of textbooks. Not wanting to keep this information to myself, I cast about for a way to share the knowledge I had compiled with everyone else who has an interest in this aspect of Caribbean history, so I developed the free online course titled ‘Freedom Fighters of the Caribbean’.

This course is an effort on my part to share this mass of information with everyone who is interested in this aspect of Caribbean History.

During 2023 I was a Contributing Writer with Toronto Caribbean newspaper of Canada focusing on Caribbean History. I have also had my writings on Caribbean History published by the following newspapers:

Antigua Breaking News – Antigua

Nassau Guardian - Bahamas

Amandla Newspaper - Belize

Dominica News Online - Dominica

Jamaica Gleaner – Jamaica

Antilla Martinique - Martinique

The Panama News - Panama

Amsterdam News – New York, USA

St Vincent Times – St. Vincent

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