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Caribbean: French-speaking migration and settlement

Migration A–Z


  1. Françoise Vergès

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm102

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Vergès, F. 2013. Caribbean: French-speaking migration and settlement. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


French Caribbean modern mobility and migrations refer to the population movement associated with the French colonial empire and its occupation of and domination over some of the Caribbean islands, most notably the island they called Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti). The beginning of the history of migration in the region coincided with the time of Europeans' arrival there. Yet recent archeological discoveries are transforming the ways in which migrations are studied in the Caribbean, since it is now realized that long before the arrival of the Europeans, native populations moved from one island to the other and maintained a “dynamic inter-connected character” (Hofman & Bright 2010). In other words, the migrations set in motion by French colonial powers happened in territories that had already been sites of exchange between groups. French Caribbean modern migrations are thus inscribed within a larger history of migratory practices, and the practices of cultural mixing, hybridity, syncretic practices, and creolization. In other words, contacts between people of different rituals, beliefs, languages, and ways of living led to the creation of new linguistic, cultural, and religious forms where the vernacular nonetheless survived in its own forms. From these processes emerged what is known as “Caribbean” music, literature, cuisine, technology, and rituals.


  • Atlantic world;
  • revolution;
  • labor supply;
  • foreign interventionism