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Caribs(kăr`ĭbz), native people formerly inhabiting the Lesser Antilles, West Indies. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. about a century before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The original name by which the Caribs were known, Galibi, was corrupted by the Spanish to Caníbal and is the origin of the English word cannibal. Extremely warlike and ferocious, they practiced 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. 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.