Carib

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Carib, Island Carib, or Kalinago people, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named, are a group of people who live in the Lesser Antilles islands. They are an Amerindian people whose origins lie in the southern West Indies and the northern coast of South America.

The people spoke either a Carib language or a pidgin, but the Caribs' regular raids on other groups resulted in so many female Arawak captives that it was not uncommon for the women to speak Kalhíphona, a Maipurean language (Arawakan). In the southern Caribbean, they co-existed with a related Cariban-speaking group, the Galibi. They lived in separate villages in Grenada, Tobago, and Dominica.

Contents

History

The Caribs are believed to have migrated from the Orinoco River area in South America to settle in the Caribbean islands about 1200 CE, according to carbon dating. Over the century leading up to Columbus' arrival in the Caribbean archipelago in 1492, the Caribs mostly displaced, by warfare, extermination and assimilation, the Maipurean-speaking Tainos, who settled the island chains earlier in history.[1]

The Carib islanders traded with the Eastern Taíno of the Caribbean Islands. The Caribs produced the silver which Ponce de Leon found in Taino communities. None of the insular Amerindians mined for gold, but obtained it by trade from the mainland. The Caribs were skilled boatbuilders and sailors. They appeared to have owed their dominance in the Caribbean basin to their mastery of warfare.

The Caribs were displaced by the Europeans with a great loss of life; most fatalities resulting from Eurasian infectious diseases to which they had no immunity, as well as warfare. Others were assimilated during the colonial period; a few retained areas such as in Dominica. Small populations survive, specifically in the Carib Territory in northeast Dominica.

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