Legacy of Amerindians in the Caribbean
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The Amerindians were among the earliest First Nation Civilizations in the Caribbean. They established many civilizations within the Caribbean and were once flourishing Nations. However, in this modern era, though the physical civilizations of this marvelous people no longer exists, their legacy can be felt almost everywhere in the region.
Firstly, the most evident “legacy” of the Amerindians is the Mestizo race. A Mestizo, also called latino, is the offspring of a European and an Amerindian. The Europeans first arrived in the New World in 1492 led by Christopher Columbus. According to Caribbean histiography, Christopher Columbus encountered two types of people in the caribbean. One group was called the “Arawak” and the other “Carib.” Christopher Columbus mentioned the Arawaks to be a kind peaceful people and the Caribs as warlike and canibalistic. However, we now know this to be false as we have recently uncovered the trash pits, or middens, of the amerindians, which show no evidence of canibalism. Therefore, Those amerindians who opposed the Spanish weremost likely termed Caribs and killed whereas those who could be used to labour in the spanish system of exploitation like the Encomienda and the Repartimiento Systems, were worked (to death).
Therefore, many of the amerindians ended up taking their own life to escape the Spanish cruelty, while the remaining few retreated to the dense mountains where they later reemerged and married the spaniards or Africans brought to the Caribbean during the period of slavery. This interbreeding between the Europians and the surviving Amerindians is believed to be the origin of the Mestizo race, also known as the latino, and is possibly the greastest legacy of a nation once existing in the Caribbean before the Spanish conquest.
Secondly, many of the names of Caribbean territories used today is of Amerindian origin or in some way echo their Amerindian name. Territories and Islands such as Tobago, Jamaica, Carriacou, among others are of Amerindian origin as they were respectively called Tobago(kalinago), Xaymaca (taino), Kayryouacou (kalinago) by the First Nation people.