Susquehanna University Political Review


B. James Foster


Due to its uniquely heterogeneous developmental environment, complex political and economic history, and continued inequality in resource balancing and economic development, the Caribbean is a fascinating subject for studies on decolonization. Though many authors have argued over the value of close relationships between Caribbean states and their Former Colonial Powers (FCPs), no comprehensive study has been undertaken to compare the effects of involuntary and 'strategic' decolonization in the Caribbean. In a wide variety of developmental literature, authors identify a fundamental change in decolonization thought in the period immediately following WWII and the formation of the United Nations. This paper examines the 22 sovereign nations and 9 semi-autonomous dependent territories that border the Caribbean sea to determine the presence of significant structural differences between Caribbean nations that gained sovereignty during the pre-1945, 'early-period'- characterized by violent, unplanned popular uprisings; in the post-1945, 'late-period'- characterized by diplomacy and favorable economic and political relationships between young nations and FCPs; and semi-autonomous territories still under the control of colonial nations. Based on data from the World Development Index, World Governance Index, Human Development Index, and created dummy variables to control for sovereignty changes and intrinsic 9th Edition 58 differences between different FCPs, I have identified very strong evidence that early-period independent nations have significantly lower economic development, score significantly lower on indicators of good governance, and have had significantly slower progress in industrialization and technological advancement than both late-period independent nations and semi-autonomous territories. This research challenges long-held thought about decolonization strategies, provides valuable insight into the value of relationships between young nations and their FCPs, and identifies potential hazards of poorly planned decolonization.