Archaeologists say early Caribbean inhabitants were not ‘savage cannibals’, as colonists wrote

A 19th century engraving depicts Spanish exploration in the West Indies. ‘It’s up to us to tell their story,’ researchers say of the Caribs. Photograph: Granger/Rex/Shutterstock

For centuries, historians held that the Caribbean’s earliest inhabitants were peaceful farmers who were wiped out by the ferocious man-eating Carib people. But archaeologists in Antigua say new evidence from one of the most important sites in the region is helping to correct “speculative and erroneous” accounts passed down from early colonists.

The excavation at a 12-acre site in Indian Creek has prompted a reassessment of older narratives, said Dr Reg Murphy, who is leading a team from Syracuse University, Farmingdale State College and Brooklyn College.

Colonial-era historians said that the Arawak people were exterminated in about 1300 AD by the Caribs, who were demonised as man-eaters – and then themselves displaced – by the first European settlers.

“We hope to reevaluate those long-held assumptions,” said Murphy. “From analysing their diet we have found no evidence that Caribs ever ate humans.”

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23 Comments

  1. CONSCIOUS
    April 26, 2018

    Now the truth about history is talked about.Lennox needs to apologize and rewrite the stuff correctlt. All the history teachers that fail me for not believing that garbage the rest is tet to come. Then play that calypso Columbus lied.

  2. It'sMissAlie
    April 26, 2018

    The only savages were Europeans! They disrupted the tranquility, and livelihoods of the Carib tribes to feed their insatiable appetite for wealth. Europeans, then painted the Indians as savages, because the Carib tribes in the Caribbean stood up to European rule. Many times, the Carib-Indians committed mass suicides to escape European rule.

  3. April 26, 2018

    The natives on present-day Hispaniola feared the Caribs, who were cannibals.

    • Chess game
      April 30, 2018

      The Euros were the cannibals, they depleted all their food before reaching land, not the Caribs who had lots of food including wild animals they hunted. Euros could not go hunting when they arrived hungry and tired they simply roasted curious onlookers, then wrote about it. Do you expect them to tell that to their king? No they taught that to you and made a believer out of you.

  4. The Valley
    April 26, 2018

    What they taught us in school was typical white washed His-Story, They always want to be malicious and evil to other people and the ones who revolt were labelled savages .
    The world has enlightened and we are now seeing them for who they are. Liars!

    • Da passports
      April 26, 2018

      Ohh shut up, modern society is created by the whiteman which everyone including the chinese emulate :roll: Focus on what your people doing to oppress you like king skerro

  5. Chess game
    April 26, 2018

     We knew that a long time ago. The only ferocious man-eating people were the Europeans who were lost at sea, threatened with mutiny, no food. We read between the lines of the European history books. These people with no food could not go hunting wild animals or digging up cassava, they shot and ate the curious kids and onlookers who they ran into.

    • April 26, 2018

      Not true. You’re a racist and made it up.

      • Chess game
        April 27, 2018

        Are you kidding me, your drank their cool aid. So you believe the filth the euro historians wore and don’t see them as racist but think I am? And you also believe them that they were sailing idly by when Africans waved at them and forced the poor innocent Euros to buy an African or two? You are reacting exactly how they intended you to react. It’s almost 1000 years later and we know better, our children will fix this since there are too many of us that still think brainwashed like you are.

  6. roy
    April 25, 2018

    Another set of people who came under the brutality of colonists.
    The first slaves in the Americas were whites brought over from Europe, but they could not stand the conditions – work and heat.
    Then the indiginous people (Amerindians) were forced into slavery. But they began to die out because of the diseases brought over from Europe.
    So what the colonist do? They turned to Africa to get their slave labour. The brutal rest is history.

    • April 26, 2018

      Captured by other black Africans and then sold to slave traders.

      • Sherlock holmes
        April 26, 2018

        Yes…blacks sold the lesser tribes to the white men. They sold us.

      • Annon
        April 27, 2018

        No pal you got that wrong. That’s what they want you to think. It’s called blame the victim. They blame the Kalinago as canibals in order to enslave and brutalized them, the American Indians for attacking them, Africans for selling each other to them while they were passing by minding their own business. ..and made you believe that. Not denying they all enslaved their own people. But we have researched and found out they enslaved their own European people and also took them to ‘the new world’ but all died not being physically fit enough. You have been brainwashed, think and do research yourself.

      • Chess game
        April 30, 2018

        The whites did the same and took their prisoners and other whites sold to them to the new world. But they didn’t survive, couldn’t handle it. Don’t just believe what their church wants your too think, do some simple research. I challenge you to research.

  7. Ibo France
    April 25, 2018

    The early history of the Caribbean indigenous inhabitants is badly distorted. The invaders committed unspeakable atrocities against the peaceful native people. The wanton murders and enslavement meted out to the peaceful inhabitants could have only be done by savages. We need to correct the false narratives of the Europeans and hold them fully accountable for their barbarism.

  8. Kim
    April 25, 2018

    2 Esdras 13: 40-46

  9. Shaka Zulu
    April 25, 2018

    I found that out in high school in history class. I do not need archaeologists to tell me. The history we have been taught has always been bias and from the perspective of the predators. How were they savages and co existed for hundreds if not thousands of years? As soon as European came many went near extinction. There was biological warefare even then with the introduction of syphilis and other diseases brought in by the Europeans. Although unintended but it was destructive nevertheless. A black freedom fighter was called a runaway and neg marrwon and even today still in our txt book. Yet we hail Wilberforce for fighting to end slavery. The exploits of the freedom fighters come with negative connotations and labelled as rebels. There is always two sides to a story and it is sad the the story of peacefull people were stolen and lost or simply misrepresented. Hope we learn today and keep the fight to create our own history. Let each man tell his story homself.

    • Kim
      April 25, 2018

      Great points in war the winner always get to tell the story.

    • out of south city
      April 25, 2018

      There is a brother who said, “we, as African people, have to re-write our story” because the Europeans’ history is distorted, filled with lies which we have been taught since they appeared on the scene. It is so easy to believe what others have said about us than for us to believe the truth from our own people. The Europeans’ history has caused division, hate, distrust, jealousy and so much more amongst us. That was deliberately done so that we would never know who we really are as a people. They have taken credit for everything that we did and belonged to us. They cannot be trusted because they always come among us as sheep in wolves’ clothing. Up till today, they always play a part in our business and some of us trust them more than their own kind. They have caused a lot of pain, and suffering among us and still do to this day. Eventually, the truth will rise to the top.

      UNAPOLOGETIC

    • Da passports
      April 26, 2018

      How can I expect a guy name Shaka Zulu to see things in a non biased way :roll: Clearly you’re gonna spin it in a way to demonize whites for all their successes and achievements :lol: :lol:

      • Shaka Zulu
        April 26, 2018

        I am not trying demonize anyone. Let history be truthful and honest. We will never change when we deny our wrongs. Let me remind you. World war 1 and 2 fought in Europe because of imperialism and hate. Millions of jews killed tortured starved and mutilated. All because of a sense of superiority. Am i the one who told them. Pakistanis and indians lived together for centuries in peace until the brits caused the largest mas migration and separation. Today they are ready to fight each other. Racism in America blacks lynched and murdered even today. Animals are shot with sedatives unarmed black men with guns. South africa, south america the list goes on. We have nuclear bombs to kill. I could go on. Some African leaders are no different, however, they are tried for war crimes while the leaders of russia and the US get away for doing the same from remote. The fact is those who conquered distorted stories and we were lied to. You call it what you want.

      • Shaka Zulu
        April 26, 2018

        I list my name as Shaka Zulu because many of us have heard of the great exploit s of king George and all the white great kings and emperors. This instilled a sense of pride. When my ancestors were captured and shipped across the Atlantic our story ancestry and names lost. Shaka Zulu had great story in his resistance to the mighty brits. The same way you take pride in your heritage i take pride in knowing there were great black men like shaka and Nelson Mandela. Hence irrispecttive of the perception that any person not white is inferior i know better. Today we have a president ib the US for this very reason is trying his best erase any memory or legacy of a black man as US President so 100 years later the story is lost. Human behaviour dont change it is the same nastiness in a different time and form. Let the truth speak for itself.

  10. Concerned citizen
    April 25, 2018

    Like we didn’t know that before. Stop teaching white washed history to the people how bout that!

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