Good Example Of The History Of The Caribbean Indigenous Peoples Before The Arrival Of Columbus Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Caribbean, Christopher Columbus, People, Arrival, History, Community, America, United States
Long before the arrival of Europeans, three major groups of indigenous Caribbean people existed. These were the Caribs, the Cuanahatabey, and the Tainos. The three groups have no significance cultural distinction, but they arrived in the region at different times. Many books of history claim that Christopher Columbus first discovered Caribbean people in 1942, but the truth is that these people existed long before the arrival of Christian Columbus. The misleading information about the history, culture, and ways of life of Caribbean indigenous people creates a lot of confusion among learners. The existence of indigenous people in the Caribbean challenges popular beliefs. The following paper explains the history of three main groups of Caribbean people before the arrival of Columbus in 1942.
Thesis statement: Three main groups of Caribbean indigenous people existed before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1942.
The Ciboneyes (sometimes referred to as the Guanahatabey) formed the least popular of the three groups forming the indigenous Caribbean people. They were the first group to arrive in Caribbean and lived in parts of Bahamas and Cuba. Theories of history claim that Guanahatabey came from Florida and sailed to the Caribbean Island. Ciboneyes’ civilization was very sophisticated. Historians believe that Ciboneyes were mainly hunters and gatherers; however, less is known about their lifestyle and economic activities. Additionally, they lived the Paleolithic culture (Stone Age people) but they used seashells, fish bones, and rough woods as tools and implements. Life in the forest and open caves and relying on wild animals for food proved that Ciboneyes was truly stone-age people. Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the Tainos were in the process of culturally assimilating the Ciboneyes. Tainos thought they would quickly assimilate the Ciboneyes because they lived in small loosely structured groups. Christopher Columbus sought help from Tainos in the process of civilizing the Ciboneyes. Eventually, he lost interest in the group because of communication barriers, and they had no valuable possessions (Figueredo, and Frank 1).
The Caribs was a group of Amerindian people who originated from South West Indies and Northern Coast of South America. They lived in Lesser Antilles islands named after the Caribbean Sea; hence, the name Carib. Caribs co-existed with Caribbean-group in Southern Caribbean and lived in separate villages in Tobago and Grenada. According to history, Carib group of indigenous Caribbean people used to live in Orinoco rainforests in Venezuela, South America, but later migrated and settled in Caribbean. 100 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the Caribs community had displaced most of their neighbors because they were extremely violent. According to historical legends, Caribs killed and consumed all Igneri men and took their women as wives and slaves. Additionally, Caribs raided and traded with Eastern Taino of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. Christopher Columbus developed a lot of interest in this group because they possessed valuable materials like gold stones. Caribs obtained gold from Tainos using forceful ways. On the other hand, the mastery of the arts of war (they made excellent boats and were skilled sailors) made Caribs dominant in Caribbean basin. Eventually, the arrival of Europeans led by Columbus displaced Caribs from Caribbean islands because they had more advanced skills and weapons.
The Tainos originated from Northeastern South America and arrived in Caribbean about 2,500 years ago. They sailed from the rivers and oceans in canoes made from tree trunks and used paddles for navigation. Civilization of this group was more complicated compared to other indigenous Caribbean groups because of their culture and norms. Tainos was classified into three groups depending on the geographical location. The classical Tainos lived in Hispaniola, Sliver of Eastern and Puerto Rico and Western Tainos residing in Jamaica, Cuba and parts of Bahamas. On the other hand, the Eastern Tainos lived in Lesser Antilles. Tainos was the first name that Columbus heard upon his arrival in Caribbean, and it was used by Europeans to identify indigenous communities of the Caribbean. Additionally, the name was used to represent “good” and the Tainos called used it to distant themselves from enemies like the Caribs. Before the arrival of Columbus, Tainos practiced complex farming systems, arts, and ritualistic religion. They also had political divisions based on regions and villages. Despite the fact, that the Tainos were hard to civilize, they had well-managed societies with total division of labor. The arrival of Columbus was well accepted by Tainos but later turned out to be their enemy later (Figueredo and Frank 2-4).
Three main groups of indigenous Caribbean people existed before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Caribbean in 1942. Claims by many historians that Christopher Columbus discovered the Indigenous Caribbean people are not true based on the analysis of the three indigenous groups living in Caribbean. The three groups existed more than 3000 years ago while Columbus arrived in Caribbean less than 100 years ago. The analysis shows that out of the three groups, the Ciboneyes was stone aged people, the Caribs were violent, and the Tainos was the most dormant of all but very complicated.
Figueredo, D H, and Frank Argote-Freyre. A Brief History of the Caribbean. New York: Facts on