Centuries of exploitation of raw materials, the introduction of non-native animals and plants and overt and covert influence over the island’s commercial and political structures had the usual results—poverty and political destabilization; but these influences, combined with the harsh, windswept landscape and a formidable—yet almost comfortably close, physical isolation—distilled within the soul of each island in the region the necessary survival skill of resiliency. We have seen that over the past week, and we will see that in the coming months, years, as Haiti rebuilds.
Haiti is the West half of Hispaniola. The first island that any Western explorer landed on, “conquered”, introduced slavery to, collected objects from, and introduced to European monarchs as a trophy. The collecting habits of Spanish Gabinete Real in Madrid are discussed in Silvia Spitta's Misplaced Objects. 2009.