Barbados Pocket Guide

Arawaks & Carib Amerindians

The First Inhabitants of Barbados

At the time of European settlement, Barbados was uninhabited. No doubt, the journey to find the island was a long and treacherous one but well worth it.

 

Known for their pottery and agricultural skills, the Barrancoid people were the first tribe to arrive on the shores of Barbados. They inhabitance spanned a period that began in the Christian era and ended sometime in 600AD.

 

The Arawaks in Barbados

The Arawaks were considered to be navigators of great renown. It is no surprise that they were able to make full usage of their long and narrow flat bottomed canoes in order to make their way to Barbados. On approach, the island became an early attraction for them as they were predominantly exposed to the site of only beautiful beaches and lands that seemed quite arable.

 

Having already sited the island as quite arable, they wasted no time in planting main crops of cassava and tobacco with cassava being the dominant crop that was used for making cassava cakes.

 

Their keen farming abilities made it possible for them to provide their families with food for immediate consumption and the remains for export purposes. Their farming techniques included cutting down trees to make room for planting. The land was burnt in order for it to be cleared of any bush. The resulting ash was mixed with fish and urine to produce a fertilizer that would aid in prolonging the productiveness of the land.

 

The Caribs in Barbados

The Caribs weren't as peaceful as the Arawaks and so a lot of it was reflected in their very lifestyles. Unlike the Arawaks, who farmed a lot and even entertained themselves with games, the Caribs were not much into agriculture nor petty games but more focused on a protein rich diet that included sea food and the Arawaks. Yes, they ate Arawaks.

 

The preparation process was a simple one as it involved shooting their prey with a poisoned arrow that would stun them. Once this has been achieved, the male adult Arawaks are then barbecued while the young boys are castrated and fattened before a meal is made of them.

 

Beautiful Arawak women were kept as concubines while the other ones were kept for the sake of making pottery. In recognition of the 'meal achievements' Caribs wore necklaces that came from the bones of the people they ate.

 

It has been said that apparently the Caribs ate a ship load of Frenchmen and Spaniards. Despite the harsh and cannabalistic attitudes of the Caribs, the Spaniards were somehow able to annihilate every last Arawak on the island.

 

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Last modified on Friday, 17 September 2010 18:55
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