& HISTORY LESSON
Print the the reading
comprehension passage and questions (see
Students should read the story silently,
then answer the questions about the story that follow.
Excerpt from passage
The Caribbean is a region of the world between North and South America. It is made up of a group of islands that have the Caribbean Sea below them and the Atlantic Ocean above them. There are more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cayes in the Caribbean that are organized into 25 territories and countries.
Discovery of America?
The Caribbean Islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Back in 1492 when Columbus was making his famous voyage to find India, he landed on a small island which we now know as San Salvador. Columbus believed that he had reached India when in fact he had landed in the Americas. Oops! Columbus named the area the West Indies because he believed he had landed in India. Columbus died without ever knowing that he had discovered a new continent!
After Columbus, Spain claimed the area and soon the French, Dutch, and British powers moved in and established colonies. The new settlers brought diseases with them like measles and smallpox which eventually killed most of the native people living on the islands.
Along with diseases,
European settlers also brought slavery to the islands. Europeans first enslaved the native
Indians living in the islands. When their numbers decreased due to disease and harsh living conditions, the
Europeans imported slaves from Africa. Caribbean slaves were overworked, had very poor living conditions, and little medical care. The slave masters had complete control over them. They worked from sun up to sun down clearing land, planting and harvesting crops. By the end of the 17th century, the islands of Barbados, Antigua, Martinique, and Guadeloupe were major slave colonies. (continued...)
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