This essay reflects on the colonial Spanish Caribbean as a heuristic that enriches Caribbean studies. First, it meditates on the usefulness and limitations of applying the category of the Spanish Caribbean to the analysis of some pre- and post-seventeenth-century texts. Then it focuses on the meaning of the nineteenth century in the Spanish Caribbean, with particular attention to the Caribbean confederation and 1898 as key moments in the colonial and decolonial process of this region. Then the essay turns to the notion of criollismo in the Spanish Caribbean and its dialectic relationship with creole and creoleness as two different fictive ethnicities that are signified differently in Latin America and the French and Anglo-Caribbean, respectively. The essay concludes with a proposal for the Spanish Caribbean as a heuristic that reconnects Spanish, Anglo-, and French Caribbean literatures in a comparative Caribbbean studies framework.

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