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The Arawaks

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:02 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.7 
  • Words: 1652
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Amerindians of the \"Saladoid\" culture, originally came from the Venezuelan mainland. They were referred to as \"Arawaks\", because of the language they spoke. Using Trinidad as a stepping stone they spread up the Caribbean and beyond. Ethnologist have noted common characteristics with the cultures of south eastern USA. For many years this led some to believe that they originated there, archaeological finds have confirmed that their origin is most certainly Amazonic.       The Arawaks people inhabited the lands that extend from Florida through the Caribbean to Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina     The Arawaks were a very gentle culture, they preferred negotiation and commercial exchange to war. Their society was characterized by happiness, friendliness and a highly organized hierarchical, paternal society, and a lack of guile. Each group was a small kingdom and the leader was called a cacique. They practiced polygamy and most men had 2 or 3 wives, but the caciques had as many as 30. It was a great honor for a woman to be married to a cacique. Not only did she enjoy a materially superior lifestyle, but her children were held in high esteem. There was clear distinction between caciques and certain social strata that considered themselves superior, (this developed more so in the Arawaks of the Caribbean) and their existed some degree of slavery. The Arawaks employed prisoners and other individuals in services that were not expected of natural members of their communities. It was not a hereditary slavery as in the old world culture, it was simply the initial stage of submission of strangers to the tribe, who had to work so as to be eventually assimilated.

The Arawaks practiced the custom of couvade/covada, that is they considered that the father is affected in some way by the birth of his children. For this reason the father had a special diet parallel to that of the mother after child birth. Laying in his hammock, abstaining from work and...


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