Particular countries go to great lengths to establish proprietary rights to certain spirits. Americans quite properly lay claim to Bourbon; the Scotch and Irish to Whisky, the French to Champagne and Cognac, the Japanese to Sake, the Russians to Vodka, and “Genever” is quite definitely Dutch. Who, on the other hand, can claim rum?
Over the years, I have had dozens of conversations on the question of whether Caribbean history “really matters” and for whom it matters. I’ve heard the region’s history dismissed due to the relative size of Caribbean societies, historians’ supposedly excessive preoccupation with slavery, and a questioning of what lessons can be learned from such allegedly dysfunctional societies.