"The First Bahamians: Lucayan Migration through the Caribbean"
COLLEGE OF THE BAHAMAS
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILMENT OF
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR HISTORY 112
MR. STEPHEN B. ARANHA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Caribbean is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts. The Caribbean is located southeast of Northern America, east of Central America, and to the north and west of South America, the Caribbean is usually considered a sub region of North America. The Caribbean is positioned largely on the Caribbean Plate; the area comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. The West Indies consist of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the east, and the Bahamas is northeast of the sea. The "Lukku-cairi" or island people, as they called themselves, were the first settlers to the Bahamas. They were originally from South America and migrated through the Caribbean and finally arrived in The Bahamas around 800 AD. They are known as Arawaks, also called Lucayans. Indians was a tag given by Columbus, who mistakenly thought he found the East Indies when he dropped anchor in San Salvador in 1492. At the time of Columbus' first stopover in the Bahamas, the Caribbean was the home of the Arawaks. These people roamed the Caribbean and settled long ahead of Columbus' arrival.
The Lucayans were the gentle people who welcomed Columbus in 1492. Their uncomplicated way of life was different from that of later residents of the Bahamas although all were faced with the same environment. They journeyed all throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean.
The inhabitants of the Bahamas when Columbus arrived are known today as Lucayans, which has been rendered as island people. The Lucayans share a common heritage with the Taino societies of Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica, from whom they separated about AD 600 when they began to colonize the Bahamas and further Caribbean Islands. By 1492 the Lucayans had settled on all of the larger Bahamian islands as well as many of the smaller cays. The beginnings of these native people are traced to the banks of the Orinoco River valley in Venezuela. They have been gone a long time ago, but their past can be pieced together, there are many different theories on their migration and many reasons as to why they migrated.
CHAPTER 1: History of their Migration
As soon as Christopher Columbus made landfall on San Salvador on October 12th, 1492, he was met by the Lucayans. These peacefully people who were also known as the Arawaks, were also found in Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad. The Lucayans, which were the Arawaks who migrated to The Bahamas, were related to those in the rest of the Caribbean. The Lucayans were a subgroup of the Arawaks/ Amerindians. Their ancestors originated in South America. The first people to arrive in the Americas entered from Asia some time between 25,000 and 40,000 years ago. They crossed by way of the land and an ice bridge which connected Siberia and Alaska at the time in the area of what is at this time the Bering Strait. Some continued to the east and settled in the cold sub-Arctic regions. Others went south and south-east into warmer areas, eventually reaching South America in about 20,000 BC. By 9000 BC people were scattered everywhere between what is now northern Canada and Tierra del Fuego. The word Amerindian, which was created at the beginning of the twentieth century, is a useful generic term for all of these aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas.
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