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Creole Studies in the Seychelles

In The Traveller's Tree: A Journey through the Caribbean, Patrick Leigh Fermor, one of the greatest travel writers in the 20th century, captured the charm of Grenada in the late 1940s with its scenery punctuated by cocoa trees.

"...we were driving through plantations of nutmeg and cacao. The straight stems of the cacao trees and their large, pointed and almond-shaped leaves were gathered in woods and groves which were filled with an unreal and filtered light, an atmosphere resembling that of a medieval tapestry or the mysterious background of a nocturnal hunting scene by Paolo Uccello. The cacao beans hung on the end of short stalks, like red and purple hand-grenades. Weeds, for some reason, refuse to grow under the cacao and the nutmeg, so the trunks are free of the choking tangle of undergrowth and creeper and parasite that muffles the shapes of nearly everything else in these latitudes. The architecture of the forest is unencumbered, and one can gaze among their trunks down glimmering vistas of luminous and variable green. [...] The cultivation of sugar had to be practically abandoned, and its place was taken by the nutmeg and cacao which have become the chief industries of the country. Their cultivation of cacao is many times less laborious than the back-breaking grind of the cane-fields, and much more suited to the character of the islanders; as it would be to anybody's" (Fermor, 1950/2011, pp. 187-188).

Thus opens my article on cocoa, development, and Creole identity in the Caribbean. To read the full paper, follow the link: Then click on Actes du XVIème Colloque International du CIEC from the 2018 International Creole Studies Conference in the Seychelles. My presentation, "Cocoanomics and Development: Martinique and St. Lucia, cases in contrast," can be found on pages 225-249.


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