Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Harry Belafonte: calypso with a conscience

A beloved musical icon since the 1950s, Harry Belafonte has an equally long reputation as a political activist. And the parallel themes of his public life, entertainment and activism, both have their roots in Belafonte’s childhood in Jamaica. James Ferguson finds out more.

Euzhan Palcy in 1992 — an alternate photo from the shoot that produced our first cover, twenty-five years ago. Bettmann / Getty Images

The Beat goes on

For 25 years, Caribbean Beat has celebrated the best and brightest of Caribbean culture and people — as you can see in the panorama of our 144 covers, and the stories behind them.

Photo courtesy Caribbean Airlines

Caribbean Airlines turns ten

Marking a decade of sharing the warmth of the islands, with the Caribbean’s favourite airline. Learn about anniversary plans, meet some star CAL employees, and more.

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

The remains of the Danes

Exactly a century ago, the Kingdom of Denmark sold its Caribbean possessions for $25 million to the United States. Commemorated in the US Virgin Islands, the anniversary is little remembered elsewhere — but, as James Ferguson writes, the story behind the event reminds us about the ambitions that drove European colonisation of our region.

Mrs Fanny Eaton (c.1859; chalk on paper), by Walter Fryer Stocks

Fanny Eaton: forgotten beauty

In the paintings of the nineteenth-century British Pre-Raphaelite artists, one “exotic” face stands out. Fanny Eaton, born in Jamaica, was a mixed-race model who found herself, for a few years, near the heart of Victorian London’s art world — and was long forgotten. Judy Raymond tells what’s known of her story.

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Who’s your granny?

Sixty years ago, a squadron of battle-hardened guerrillas landed on Cuba’s south-east coast, launching the revolution that would soon grip the world’s imagination. And the heroically leaky boat that got them there? It was named for someone’s grandmother. James Ferguson remembers the story of Granma.

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

The Bianca C: into the deep

One Sunday fifty-five years ago, residents of St George’s, Grenada, woke up to a disaster unfolding in their harbour. More than six hundred people on board the liner Bianca C were in grave danger — so dozens of Grenadians leaped into action. James Ferguson remembers the story.

La Soufrière caldera, St Vincent. Photo by Jonathan Palmer/Mustique Airways

Caribbean volcanoes: fire down below

Shaped by subterranean forces, the islands of the Lesser Antilles are an arc of volcanoes — some extinct, some dormant, some still active. And among their dramatic forested peaks, crater lakes, and hot springs, amateur vulcanologists (and ordinary tourists) can find ample evidence of our planet’s restless energy.

Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

Historic gold: the earliest Caribbean Olympic heroes

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Caribbean sports fans will have dozens of home-grown champs to cheer on. But the region’s history of Olympic success stretches back more than a century. James Ferguson looks back to the earliest Caribbean Olympic heroes, and how today’s athletes have kept their victorious legacy alive.

A graveyard and old headstones: a typical scene around one of the many Baptist churches on the hills of the company villages. Photo by Marlon Rouse

The Merikins: heroes of the forgotten war

Two hundred years ago, a group of free black veterans of the War of 1812 arrived in Trinidad. In the island’s deep south, the villages they founded still preserve the traditions of the “Merikins,” as writer Judy Raymond and photographer Marlon Rouse discover — and still have much to teach their fellow citizens.