Skipnav

Descendants Of Carib Indians

Today, the red Caribs are the descendants of the original Caribs and the European settlers. The Black Caribs today, have a much more colorful history and are the descendants of the original Caribs and African slaves. History states how the Caribs would attack slave ships and release the slaves, killing the crew.

DIRECTORY
Black Carib of the Caribbean

They did this to annoy the European settlers. It is said that the Caribs became allies of the runaway slaves and gave them shelter. Soon, a new race was born - the 'Black Carib'. One can see how it would have behooved the runaway slaves to adopt the language, customs and way of life of the Caribs. This new race of Caribs is today known as the Garifuna (singular) or Garinagu (plural).

Red Caribs have virtually disappeared: exterminated en masse by the Early Explorers, decimated by disease and displacement, and extinguished through assimilation. There are a few descendants of the original Red Caribs still living in Dominica today. However, they have lost much of their customs and language.

Black Carib

Where Are The Garinagu?A small number of Black Caribs have survived and have clung tenaciously to their old beliefs, customs and language. Their culture is very much alive, although constantly threatened with extinction by the youth who prefer to assimilate into and adopt Western culture.

Black Carib of the Caribbean

By 1635, the Caribs had occupied large portions of territory in South America and almost all of the Windward Islands. Little by little, the Europeans wrestled control of the lands from the Caribs. The clincher came in 1748 when Britain and France signed the Treaty of Aix La Chapelle and used it as justification to settle land they had agreed was to be Carib land. By 1797, the Garinagu numbered a few thousand and were virtually homeless.

In March of 1797, a great manhunt ensued in which the Garinagu were hunted and rounded up like cattle from the Islands. The British then placed them aboard several ships and sent them out to the mercy of the sea and whomever would take pity on them. By unjustly and falsely accusing the Garinagu of cannibalism, the British had ensured that no one would want to aid them.

Eventually, the Garinagu arrived and settled in Roatan Island in the Bay of Honduras. When the Spaniards (who controlled Honduras, saw that they were honest, hardworking and not at all what the British had branded them as, they were allowed to stay. Within a few years they had migrated to the coastal communities of Central America where they can still be found today. Major communities of Garinagu exist today in Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, although many have migrated to the U.S. and elsewhere.