Amerindians of the Caribbean

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  • Topic: Guyana, Arawak, Cassava
  • Pages : 6 (1979 words )
  • Download(s) : 382
  • Published : March 31, 2013
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Topic…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2

History.................................................................................................................................3

Appearance ………………………………………………………………………………3-4

Entertainment ………………………………………………………………………………5

Housing ……………………………………………………………………………………5-6

Survival (farming and hunting)……………………………………………………………6-8

Religion…………………………………………………………………………………….8

References…………………………………………………………………………………9

Topic: The Arawak of Guyana, their cultures, land use patterns and their effect on the landscape and biota.

Introduction

The Arawaks are thought to have settled at Hosororo creek on the Aruka River around 3,500 years ago. They planted manioc (manihot esculenta) which they baked into bread on ceramic griddles on the hilltops. Arawaks occupied the Corentyne River also around 2,000 years ago leaving a unique type of rock engraving, called Timehri Petroglyphs. Due to the amount of rich protein supply found along the coastal swamps, the Arawaks moved hundreds of tons of earth with wooden shovels, in order to build habitation mounds and raised fields for farming. According to Denis Williams this settlement strategy has sustained human population on coastal swamps during the European era and into the present. During the rainy season the Arawaks hunted a lot, when animals were said to migrate from lowlands in search of high ground. Animals commonly hunted were the deer, tapir, labba, wild hog, agouti, birds, parrots and turtles. They were known as food producers, also they are also known for their pottery making skills as they were the first people to bring pottery to Guyana. The Arawaks have made great contributions to Guyana culture, today many places are named by the Arawaks, most of our rivers and creeks are named by the Arawaks. The Arawak nation is deemed the most intelligent of the Amerindian nations.

Fig.1 Map of Guyana showing the location of the Arawaks

History
The Amerindians is said to be the first inhabitants to Guyana who entered the territory about 11,000 years ago. Amerindians initially lived on low, swampy coastland regions. The coastal plain was built up by alluvial deposits from the rising Atlantic Ocean ranging from 17,000 to 6000 years ago. The Arawak nation is said to be the second nation to arrive in Guyana after the Warraus who came before approximately 84000 years ago. It is said that a number of Arawak tribes have been extinct for several hundreds of years. What could have happened that would bring a population that once numbered 2 to 3 million down to just a few thousand by the early part of the 16th century? Throughout history the Arawak were subject to many hostile take-overs, diseases, enslavement, damage to food supplies and much more. Inevitably, by the end of the 16th century the Island Arawak had become extinct. Sadly, the Arawak Indians have been eliminated or greatly reduced in number in many areas, some of which include the Caribbean, Guadeloupe, West Indies, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands. Their numbers have been slowly rising, so that today upwards of 30, 000 Arawak currently reside in Guyana, with a very small number existing in Suriname and French Guiana.

Appearance

Because of the broad distribution of the Arawaks, little uniformity can be found in their culture or racial type. It has been found though that the language they speak distinguish them from the rest of the world. The Arawaks were well shaped, slightly built and medium height. It appeared that they were physically weak in comparison with the Africans and Europeans. Their skin was “olive” which mean smooth and brown. The Arawaks were considered naturally good- looking but distorted their features by artificial means. As babies their heads were flattened at the forehead, this elongated head was considered a mark of beauty....
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