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Related to Caribs: Arawaks, Tainos


(kăr`ĭbz), native people formerly inhabiting the Lesser Antilles, West Indies. They are also known as Island Caribs; their Domincan descendants called themselves Kalinago. They seem to have overrun the Lesser Antilles and to have driven out the ArawakArawak
, linguistic stock of indigenous people who came from South America and, at the time of the Spanish Conquest, occupied the islands of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Trinidad, and other areas of Amazonia.
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 about a century before the arrival of Christopher Columbus The name by which the Caribs were known was recorded by Columbus as Caribes and Canibales, and the latter is the origin of the English word cannibal.

Extremely warlike and ferocious, they allegedly were cannibals—they may have practiced ritual cannibalism—and took pride in scarification (ritual cutting of the skin) and fasting. The Carib language was spoken only by the men, while the women spoke Arawak. This was so because Arawak women, captured in raids, were taken as wives by the Carib men. Fishing, agriculture, and basketmaking were the chief domestic activities. The Caribs were expert navigators, crisscrossing a large portion of the Caribbean in their canoes.

After European colonization began in the 17th cent., they were all but exterminated. A group remaining on St. Vincent mingled with black slaves who escaped from a shipwreck in 1675. This group was transferred (1795) by the British to Roatán island off the coast of Honduras. Known as the Garifuna, they have gradually migrated north along the coast into Guatemala. A few Caribs survive on a reservation on the island of Dominica. The Carib, or Cariban, languages are a separate family. Carib-speaking tribes are found in N Honduras, Belize, central Brazil, and N South America.



(incorrectly, Caraibs), a group of Indian tribes in South America (the Motilon, Macushi, Arecuna, Waiwai, Carijona, Bacairi, and others) who speak Cariban languages and have common origins. According to rough estimates, there are approximately 100, 000–150, 000 Caribs. Their religion consists of tribal cults.

The Caribs live primarily in the tropical forest and savanna zone north of the Amazon River (in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Honduras, and other countries). They engage in semino-madic slash-and-fallow agriculture, fishing, hunting, and food-gathering. Their main form of social organization is the neighbor community, with considerable vestiges of maternal kinship relations.


Narody Ameriki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
An early description of Trinidad's Caribs by Pere Labat (a French Catholic priest) from around 1700 describes the use of flutes:
In the book "Robinson Crusoe", which is based on the experience of a marooned sailor, Alexander Selkirk, the conflict between "Man Friday" and the "cannibals" could be taken as an allegory of that between the fierce Caribs and the less belligerent people whom they supplanted.
But numerous Dominica shops do feature tourist items such as the unique, tri-colored baskets Carib women weave of larouma reeds, as well as native pottery, hand-painted candles, wood carvings, coconut-oil-based soaps, and Cafe Dominique, the local equivalent of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
For 150 years after Columbus, the Caribs raided Spanish towns and plantations in the eastern Caribbean, then terrorized the English, Dutch, and French settlements.
The historical moment when the Caribs are invaded is transfigured through myth to illuminate the freedom and evolution also present in that cross-cultural encounter as Couvade, the ritual dream of the Caribs, crosses the "bridge of relationships" to become an imaginative resource for the future Caribbean.
The Carib people call their mother island Waitukubuli, meaning `Old and Tall is Her Body'.
If BHP discovers a significant ore deposit in Dominica, he says, then it would be possible to weigh the potential benefits and risks, including environmental dangers and threats to the Caribs.
Thunder's mother Willive and great-aunt Mamag take the boy to visit Carib in an effort to remedy his fear of thunder.
The collusive function of costume as it appears in Rochefort's historicization of the Caribs would assuredly illustrate certain key terms of order articulated in Barthes' delineation of the pathologies or social conflicts manifested by forms of play.
Not many Caribs survived European colonization, but some mixed with escaped slaves on St.
Diseases brought by Europeans devastated these native populations, but a piece by Kenneth Kiple and Kriemhild Omelas finds that among the Caribs the killers may not have been European, but African pathogens.
The English then transported the surviving Black Caribs to the Bay Islands off the Honduran coast, defeated the local Spanish garrison there and on April 12, 1797, deposited their human cargo ashore with scant provisions.