Physical Geog of the Caribbean

Topics: Hispaniola, Arawak, Carib Pages: 2 (450 words) Published: October 8, 2008
The Caribbean region is located in the tropics and spans a broad arc of over 4000km from the Bahamas in the North to Guyana and Suriname in the south. There are thousands of islands and they vary in size and stretch and altogether they span an area from longitude 59 degrees west to 85 degrees west and range roughly from latitude 10 degrees north to latitude 25 degrees north.

The islands all lie within an entirely salubrious environment, conducive to the growth of population and development of complex societies. The islands had been inhabited for a very long time before the arrival of Columbus although no firm date can be established. The Spaniards in Columbus ships described the Caribbean as green and fertile, cooled by trade winds with a good climate.

The indigenous population of the Caribbean probably didn’t exceed three quarters of a million and most of them lived on the Hispaniola Island. The main types of people comprised the Ciboney, the Taino Arawak and the Carib. In some case its hard to track the history of some of these people but most of them left their history in pottery and paintings which was important in determining their ways of life.

For the Arawaks, settlements ranged from single units of many families to towns of one thousand houses. Village houses were arranged around ball courts and straw-roofed adobe hut of the chief called bohio. These settlements seemed to be in places favorable for agriculture on the leeward side of mountains and somewhat inland. Villagers produced mainly sweet cassava, peanuts, peppers beans and arrowroots. In addition to agriculture the Arawaks also did some fishing using nets and hooks but according to the Europeans, the Arawaks were described as “people short of everything”. The Arawak population rapidly shrunk during the first century of Spanish colonization but they didn’t fail to have an impact on the future of the area. An assumption can be made that early Spanish settlers mated with the Arawakan...
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