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Diplomacy as a Survival Tactic in the Caribbean

Maroons and Native Americans concluded treaties and entered into formal alliances with European colonial powers as a means of survival.

Diplomacy in this context refers to formal treaties entered into by European states with Native American communities that they preferred to trade with rather than enslave. It also refers to formal agreements between European colonial administrations and African maroon communities that the Europeans concluded they could not defeat militarily and therefore needed to arrive at a modus vivendi with them.

The actions taken by the leaders of some communities when dealing with Europeans could be viewed as betrayal of former allies or kith and kin, collusion with the enemy or appeasement. However, from their perspective, confronted with a situation where they faced likely extermination by a superior power, they chose the path of diplomacy in the hope that collaborating with the superior power would ensure the survival of their communities.

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