Version: 11112202 Rev. 1
Perhaps the first internal Caribbean diaspora originated in Haiti. In the late 18th century, the Haitian Revolution against French rule led to an exodus of French colonists — many of them with their slaves — to New Orleans (which was considered part of the Caribbean) and to Santiago, Cuba. Thus the African influence on the music of New Orleans increased and in Santiago the process of the creation of the Cuban contradanza and the use of the cinquillo rhythm accelerated. The exiles also took all of their French ceremonial dances with them. It is also possible that this influence somehow came to Puerto Rico, as some of the danceable forms of the bomba have French names.
Cuba, meanwhile, with its intense trade with the city of New Orleans and the presence of African-American troops from the United States during the Spanish-American War (1898-1900), created the influence called Latin tinge by Jelly Roll Morton, influenced the creation of American jazz and possibly influenced the wind instrument groups known as Dixieland jazz. In Mexico, the presence of Cuban comedy companies in the late 19th century took the Cuban danzón and the bolero to Veracruz, where they took root in the new country. Much earlier, the ships that left the port of Havana took with them the genre of music known as habanera to Mexico and Venezuela, where they became popular.
In approximately 1842, Cuban danza arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it was also known as upa or merengue, and Puerto Rican danza was soon created. A branch of this music, which kept the name merengue, became known in the Dominican Republic and is the beginnings of the genre that still carries that name. Jamaica, Haiti and other islands in the English-speaking Caribbean provided thousands of construction workers to build the Panama Canal in the early 20th century, and they took with them musical styles that fed the folklore of Panama. In Puerto Rico, the plena is said to have originated from the presence in the city of Ponce of two immigrants from some of the small British islands, and the name of the genre came from the phrase the man would say to the woman to tell her to play the tambourine: "Play, Ann." This story has not been confirmed, however.
These exchanges due to the internal diaspora were continued by three inventions in the 20th century. The first was the record, which was circulating in the Caribbean in the early part of the century. The U.S. record companies brought their recording equipment to Cuba as early as 1904 and spread that music to other countries, including the Caribbean. They made recordings in Puerto Rico in 1907 with the same result.
The second great force in disseminating music in the Caribbean would be radio, which began broadcasting in the Caribbean basin in 1922. By the 1930s, powerful broadcasters such as XEW in Mexico, whose signal reached much of the Caribbean, brought Mexican music to Cuba and Puerto Rico. The same happened with the radio station Atlántico in Barranquilla, which exposed all of the Caribbean to the music of its country. Soon, Cuban radio stations CMQ, RHC and others were doing the same, along with the powerful Voz del Yuna in the Dominican Republic. Artists also made appearances on programs of radio stations in other countries, thus adding to the interaction. It was an effective and intense exchange within the internal diaspora.
These inventions spread Caribbean music, but not dance. Although movies arose in the early 20th century, talking pictures did not arrive until 1927. By 1937, Mexican cinema was strong, with films that initially used country music, some of which could be considered Caribbean, such as songs from the Yucatan and dance songs. But the Mexican cinema was soon full of Caribbean rhythms: boleros, guarachas, sones, danzones, etc. that came from throughout the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. These movies were the most effective means of spreading the music, especially in the 1940s and 1950s.