Barbados Amerindians History
The first indigenous people were Amerindians who arrived here from Venezuela. Paddling long dugout canoes they crossed oceans and currents that challenge modern sailing vessels. On the north end of Venezuela a narrow sea channel called the Dragon's mouth acts as a funnel to the Caribbean sea and the nearest Island of Trinidad.
It is a formidable passage of swift flowing water and cross currents. It is dangerous water for an open dugout canoe. But they came, families and villages, adventurers, descendants of the the first people who travelled across the Alaska land bridge, down through Canada and the Americas to the South.
They made their new home in Barbados along the coast, leaving behind hardly a trace, only a hint of evidence for the archeologist to date and dream about. Fragments of tools made of shell, utensils, refuse and burial places convey but a mystery of their time.
The Arawaks were short, olive-skinned people who bound their foreheads during infancy to slope it into a point. They considered this along with black and white body painting to be attractive. The CaÏques (chiefs) and influential members of the tribe wore nose plugs and/or rings made of copper and gold alloys (History of Barbados).
They were an agricultural people and grew cotton, cassava, corn, peanuts, guavas, and papaws (papaya). The cotton was woven and used for armbands and hammocks. Cassava was ground and grated to be made into casareep, a seasoning used in cooking. The Arawaks also used harpoons, nets, and hooks, to fish for food (History of Barbados).
In 1200, the Arawaks were conquered by the Caribs. The Caribs were a taller and stronger Amerindian tribe than the Arawaks. They were also cannibals. They were a warlike and savage people who are reported to have barbecued their captives and washed them down with cassava beer.
In the History of Barbados, for example, it is reported that Caribs ate an entire French crew in 1596. They were incredibly accurate bowmen and used a powerful poison to paralyze their prey. (History of Barbados). Source of this information can be found here Barbados