By Sherry Johnson
From 1750 to 1800, a serious interval that observed the yank Revolution, French Revolution, and Haitian Revolution, the Atlantic international skilled a sequence of environmental crises, together with extra common and critical hurricanes and prolonged drought. Drawing on ancient climatology, environmental historical past, and Cuban and American colonial historical past, Sherry Johnson innovatively integrates the region's event with severe climate occasions and styles into the historical past of the Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic world.By superimposing this heritage of ordinary mess ups over the normal timeline of sociopolitical and financial occasions in Caribbean colonial background, Johnson offers an alternate research within which a number of the sign occasions of the Age of Revolution are obvious as effects of ecological obstacle and of the ensuing measures for catastrophe reduction. for instance, Johnson unearths that the final adoption in 1778 of unfastened exchange within the Americas used to be catalyzed through acceptance of the tough realities of nutrients shortage and the desires of neighborhood colonists reeling from a sequence of ordinary failures. Weather-induced environmental crises and gradual responses from imperial professionals, Johnson argues, performed an inextricable and, earlier, mostly unacknowledged position within the upward push of progressive sentiments within the eighteenth-century Caribbean.
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Extra info for Climate and Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution (Envisioning Cuba)
89 The fall of Havana in 1762 was a catalyst in the scientific and medical realm as well as in the areas identified in the well-studied Bourbon Reforms. Weather-induced seasonal fevers incapacitated the military forces in Cuba and played a pivotal role in the Spanish defeat, and in its wake, royal doctors and officials were charged with enacting a total reform in the way disease was approached. 90 Military hospitals were established in Havana and Santiago de Cuba and c u r s e d b y n at u r e • 19 later in New Orleans, and strict regulations regarding the conditions in the hospital were enacted.
Captains such as Anaya and González who were employed by the royal administration were asked repeatedly to forgo payment for their services. Local provisioners who raised cattle and hogs for urban consumption were still obligated to drive their livestock to the towns’ slaughterhouses, but they, too, had to wait for payment until the garrison was solvent. Other residents— tavern keepers, innkeepers, merchants, artisans, petty traders, farmers, and prostitutes— who relied upon the military presence all suffered a reduction in their income when the military and the bureaucracy were not paid.
Out of survival came a sense of capability; knowing what to do meant one could survive a future disaster and cope with its aftermath. The intangible mind-set associated with being a survivor became ingrained in the collective mentality of the population. 82 Conversely, if populations were subjected to repeated hurricane strikes without respite, a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, “hurricane fatigue,” set in. 83 Medicine and Disaster Physicians, apothecaries, and other medical practitioners were also in the vanguard of addressing the aftermath of disaster.