Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Scott M. Fitzpatrick
The Caribs are a group of native peoples in the Lesser Antilles, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named. They are thought to have originated in the Orinoco River Basin of Venezuela and spread northward into the Antillean chain of islands. They spoke languages in the Carib family indigenous to South America, which are now widespread across northern South America from the mouth of the Amazon River to the Colombian Andes. The 29 living Carib languages are divided into a northern branch (21 languages) and a southern branch (8 languages). Some common words used in English were borrowed from the Carib language, such as hammock, iguana , and hurricane (after the Carib god of evil). Archaeology suggests that pottery-making horticulturalists of South American origin spread from the mainland into the Lesser Antilles around 500 BC. These early Caribbean peoples are known from their distinctive Saladoid pottery, named after the Saladero ...