Critically examine the effects of the Spanish Colonization on the indigenous population in Trinidad.
Although there were mass developments in the demographics of Trinidad by the Europeans, this also contributed to several major factors that caused dreadful changes in the lives and well-being of the indigenous population, which were the Amerindians, due to Spanish colonization. The history of Trinidad and Tobago began with the arrival of the indigenous people. They were the first people to inhabit the islands many centuries ago (Brereton 1). These tribes have travelled from South America where they settled in various parts of the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The Amerindians settled in islands such as Bahamas, Cuba and various parts of Trinidad as well as throughout the Caribbean region (Williams 1). However, on July 31, 1498, an Italian explorer by the name of Christopher Columbus stumbled upon and rediscovered Trinidad on his third voyage (Williams 8). The rediscovery of the West Indian island by Christopher Columbus, acted as an agent of the Spanish Monarchy in the year 1492, which followed by a series of dramatic events and changes in the European society in the 15thcentury (Williams 5). Christopher Columbus’ quest for the new world drew him to this island because of the fabled stories of gold and spices popularized by famous travelogue of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and the persistent Prester John, led him to the island of Trinidad (Williams 5). Upon Columbus’ arrival to the West Indies, he met two Amerindian tribes. These were the Kalinagos (Caribs) and the Tainos (Arawak). The Arawak tribe greeted Columbus and his Spanish comrades with gifts and food while the Carib tribe retreated in land and observed the intentions of the Europeans. These behaviors can be seen in picture one on this page, which shows the Amerindians greeting Columbus and the Spaniards and the Caribs retreating in land.
Picture one taken from (“Amerindians greeting Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards”) CORBIS, . Christopher Columbus Greeting Native Americans. N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 5 Jul 2013. <http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/IH152390/christopher-columbus-greeting-native-americans>.
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards, the Arawaks were said to be relatively peaceful people, whereas the Caribs were essentially warlike beings (Williams 3). The Amerindians focused on agriculture, hunting and fishing (Williams 1). These native used the Cunuco system for agriculture, where they planted provision such as maize and cassava, vegetables and fruits rotationally on the land. Therefore, they were consuming food of great nutritional value such as proteins, starch and carbohydrates, which allowed them to maintain a healthy balanced diet. A chief called a Cacique governed the Amerindian tribes (Williams 3). The Amerindians were very skilled natives as they developed canoe and the Prague, which enable them to move from island to island (Williams 2-3). According to Williams, these Amerindians had no knowledge of metals. Their tools were polished stone; bone, shell, coral or wooden stick (2-3).The Amerindians had a simple but well-established family life in which most underdeveloped societies there appeared to be some sexual differentiation of labor. Possible for religious motive, the Arawak men alone would collect all the gold while, the women prepared the cassava, cared for the poultry, bought water from the river, wove cloth and mat, and shared in the agricultural work using the primitive implement of the Amerindians, the digging stick (Williams 2-3). Although, there were differences between the Caribs and the Arawaks in terms of their behavior, they both held a deep connection to their lands and natural environment. For many indigenous peoples, the natural world is a valued source of food, health, spirituality and identity. Land is both a critical...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document