We all have our own version of the Caribbean dream. Palm trees swinging in the light sea breeze. Pristine white beach front as far as the eye can see. A beach bar behind you selling ice cold beer and rum cocktails… sounds like paradise. Caribbean dreams are all about luxury, seaside beach house rentals and fresh seafood with a coconut twist… makes the mouth water. While all these elements make up the Caribbean dream, there is one Caribbean “must have” that is so often overlooked… the mighty hammock.
The history of the hammock is a long esteemed one, which, unfortunately for this article, does not begin in the Caribbean! The hammock was originally devised next door to the Caribbean by the Mayans over a thousand years ago. People hark on about the Mayan contribution to language and structural engineering, but I think all of that pales into significance compared to the mighty hammock!
Thanks to the amazing trade routes all around the South and Central America the proliferation of the hammock was pretty wide spread and within a few hundred years it became ‘the’ ultimate relaxation device. The undisputed worth of the hammock was so great that Columbus took large quantities home to try and distract the Spanish King and Queen from his distinct lack of riches from the ‘New World’.
From Columbus onwards, hammocks began to be used as the preferred choice of the Spanish, French and British navies. Apparently is through the slave operations of these three nations that the hammock began to spread in the Caribbean, although considering migration of races from the Caribbean from Central America this seems a little unlikely. So from this point onwards, our love affair with the Caribbean and the mighty hammock began. There was a resurgence of the popularity of the hammock in the U.S during the 1950s / 1960s, when hammocks became the epitome of laid back cool.