Pirates and privateers

The cannons can still be seen at Fort Warwick, Santa Catalina, is a vestige of the seventeenth century, when the British first settled in Providence and from there defended the Spanish island of attacks. The Spaniards tried to take several times the islands because they were tired of privateers and English pirates who were based in Providence, stolen boats laden with riches they had previously looted American countries at that time were colonized by the crown of Spain.

Spain managed to take Providencia and Santa Catalina in 1641 and from then until 1677, English and Spanish islands are taken alternately in battles involving pirate attacks, including the pirate Henry Morgan remains in the local memory; even it said that hid on the islands one of its treasures and remains still buried. You can also see Santa Catalina a rock formation with perfect head shape, which have appointed Head of Morgan.

There is information that in 1688 the islands were uninhabited; both English and Spanish had lost interest in occupying them.

The origin of the current native population

The origin of the ethnic population living in the archipelago, now called raizal, begins with a new process of colonization which was established in 1730 by people of Britain and the British Caribbean (most of Jamaica and Costa de Mosquitos) which had get enslaved persons originating from western Africa.

Although in 1783 by the Treaty of Versailles, England recognized the independence of thirteen American colonies and Spain agreed with the withdrawal of British settlers living in the archipelago, Spain allowed to remain in the islands under certain clauses; one of them, to be converted to the Catholic religion, which did not happen.

San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina adhere to the Gran Colombia

Colombia’s independence from Spain was declared on July 20, 1810. In 1822, the islanders voluntarily adhere to the nascent Gran Colombia accepting the constitution of Cucuta. The governors were appointed from Cartagena, the seat of government was moved from Providence to San Andres, where there were more people.

From 1830 Providence becomes less important for its strategic position and San Andrés begins to have greater prominence; in 1850 it became the largest exporter of coconut to the United States.

The end of slavery

Inhabited the islands British colonizers, therefore, when the Kingdom of Great Britain ordered the emancipation of all slaves in the colonies of the Caribbean, this instruction came to the archipelago. Philip Beekman Livingston, whose family had land and slaves on the islands, returned from Jamaica sent by his mother to fulfill the mandate of the crown and carry the message to other owners.

As in the rest of the Caribbean with British colonial influence, the date of emancipation is recorded in August 1834. On the islands lands were divided among the slaves, but the total liberation is not given until 1853, although the Emancipation Act in Colombia existed since 1851.

Since the early twentieth century measures were taken so that the population of the islands habits acquired the national government considered representative of Colombian identity. Then on the islands the Baptist and Adventist religions were practiced and spoke in a language own Caribbean with a strong base in English, which is now called Creole. The activities were based on subsistence agriculture and fishing mainly.

With the nationalization plan was sought to introduce the Catholic religion and the mainly Spanish language. The first Catholic missions in the islands were made between 1902 and 1926 by US and British priests which did not interfere with existing practices. In 1927, however, they came the missionaries and nuns of the Capuchin order inside the country who forbade the English in schools, censured the Baptist and Adventist religions, it was mandatory practice the Catholic rites; They denied scholarships for higher education for non-Catholic students.

These actions contributed to an interest of the population to maintain their cultural practices and traditions.

Tourism becomes the main activity of the islands

It is declared free port to the islands in 1953, since then trade became the main economic and San Andrés was consolidated as a supplier of different goods entering the country activity. The economic boom promoted immigration of nationals and foreigners who started their own companies or took advantage of the demand for labor. Providencia and Santa Catalina, maintain sustainable growth with the population and the environment.

In 1992 free port privileges ran out and tourism became the main economic activity of the islands. It has created an infrastructure for visitors and tourist services has grown and diversified.

Protection of culture and the environment

With the constitution of 1991 the island territory was declared Department Archipelago of San Andrés. The Constitution protects the country’s multicultural. The native population got the State recognized as raizal and consolidated actions for the claim of the community in the social, economic, cultural and environmental fields.

It has given importance to the protection of natural resources and traditional cultural practices that are also incorporated into the tourist circuit, creating, for example, native inns.

Biosphere Reserve

UNESCO declared the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve Archipelago in 2000, given the conservation of environmental and cultural richness of the islands. The design of marine protected area was made environmental institution of the Islands Coralina; the Ministry of Environment declared legally in 2005.

In Seaflower it is a great biological diversity, has more than 2,000 km2 of mangroves, seagrasses and the Caribbean’s largest coral reef.

The failure of the Hague on the territory

In 2001 Nicaragua claims before the International Court of Justice in The Hague possession of the islands, omitting the treaty Esguerra 1928 Barcenas ratifying Colombia’s sovereignty over the islands. The ruling of November 2012, the ICJ ran the maritime boundary the meridian 82 to 79.5 meaning that ceded to Nicaragua 50% of the territorial sea, which is in turn is 54% of Seaflower Biosphere Reserve and which has greater resources fishing.

In 2013 the Colombian government announced that the Hague ruling is obeyed but not applied until it is conclude a treaty to defend the rights of Colombians. The government has included raizales professionals in reviewing and seeking solutions to them.

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