By the start of the 20th century, America became more involved with the Caribbean after acquiring responsibility for Cuba due to victory in the Spanish American War (1898). America also sent aid to Jamaica when the island experienced an earthquake in 1907 and constructed the Panama Canal by 1914. The Canal gave America a huge interest in trade across the Caribbean. At the start of World War 2 (1939-45) many people in Britain’s Caribbean colonies volunteered to fight on behalf of the British crown. More than ten thousand men and women went to work as sailors, air force personnel, soldiers and support workers.
As the relationship between London and Washington grew due to becoming war allies, Britain agreed to lease some army bases to America and grant them access to the air- fields and ports on some of the islands. Britain also granted permission for America to start trading with other countries across Britain’s colonies. Despite this, Britain was still committed to providing support to its Caribbean colonies with the ‘West Indian Welfare Fund’ (1939) but the start of the War prevented this from happening. However, by the time the war had ended in 1945, Britain found itself with no money or resources to build its own public services. As the people of the Caribbean came to Britain’s aid to fight the war, it came to Britain’s aid again…
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