Amerindian History

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IMPACT OF SPANISH COLONIZATION ON THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF TRINIDAD The history of Trinidad begins with the settlement of the island by Amerindians. This dates back to at least 7000 years at Banwari Trace which is the oldest discovered human settlement in Eastern Caribbean. The Amerindian tribes were referred to by various names, example: Yaio, Garini, Nepuyo, Warac and many others. They were described as a peaceful people.  The closest approximation to formal education was father’s instructions to boys in the use of tools, weapons, the lore, rites and religion of the group. These religions were particularly formalized by caciques or chief with respect to their sons.  They were actively engaged in hunting, gathering fruits and shell fish as a means of survival. Their main staple was cassava. They traded with their neighbours on the mainland although they did not have a money economy.  Christopher Columbus, before his third voyage had promised the queen of Spain, Queen Isabella that the first land he came upon would be named after the Holy Trinity. It was considered a miracle when the first land he sighted was the three peaks of the Trinity Hills.  They anchored the next morning (1st August 1498) at Point Erin. On the second they sailed to Icacos Point and Anchored in the Gulf or Paria. After exploring the Gulf they anchored on the 12th August 1498 at Monkey Harbour on Charcachacare Island. On the 13th August 1498, they sailed through the Grand Boca and claimed the island of Trinidad and Tobago for Spain.  Trinidad and Tobago was reported to be densely populated at the start of the colonial period. Although in 1510, Trinidad was said to have peaceful Indians along the whole South America Coast, the demand for slaves to supply the pearl fisheries in nearby Isla Margarita led to them being declared “Caribs” (thus, fair game for slaves) in 1511. As a consequence, Trinidad became the focus of the Spanish slaving raids.  Under a system employed by the Spanish Crown...
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