Carib Indians

A native people that used to occupy the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. About 100 years before Columbus' first visit to the New World (1492] they appear to have invaded the Arawak areas and decimated local populations. The Spanish transcribed the original name of the Caribs, Galibi, to Caníbal whence our English word cannibal. The Caribs were a blood thirsty lot, given to cannibalism and stealing Arawak women. In keeping with their ferocity abroad, they inflicted wounds on their own bodies and practiced fasting for various reasons.

Only men spoke the Carib language, the women, retaining the Arawak they used before their abduction. When they were not staging raids or exploring the Caribbean in their canoes, they appear to have kept busy with fishing, basketmaking and some farming.

With the European colonization of the area in 17th century, they just about disappeared. A few of pure Carib indians survive on a reservation on the island of Dominica where the government has protected them from outside contamination. Their language group belong to a separate family with tribes speaking Carib in northern Honduras, Belize, central Brazil, and nothern South America.

Car"ib (?), n.; pl. Caries. [See Cannibal.] Ethol.

A native of the Caribbee islands or the coaste of the Caribbean sea; esp., one of a tribe of Indians inhabiting a region of South America, north of the Amazon, and formerly most of the West India islands.


© Webster 1913.

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