Download E-books The People Who Discovered Columbus: The Prehistory of the Bahamas (Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series) PDF

By William F. Keegan

For the Lucayan Arawaks of the Caribbean, the yr 1492 marked the start of the top: the 1st humans contacted via Christopher Columbus have been the 1st extinguished. inside thirty years, a inhabitants of might be 80,000 had declined to, at so much, a couple of refugees. Clearing new floor within the examine of prehistoric societies, Keegan argues varied standpoint at the prior presents a correct portrait of a tradition that turned extinct nearly 500 years ago.
Keegan phrases his procedure paleoethnography, constructing a portrait of the earlier via linking archaeological box information and historic records. the outcome, the 1st review of the prehistory of the Bahamas, explains how and why the Bahamas have been colonized by way of the Tainos virtually 1,400 years in the past. The portrait contains features of the islands themselves, descriptions of ways the Lucayans made their settlements, what they ate, how they geared up in social teams, and the way their inhabitants unfold during the archipelago.
Keegan reconstructs Columbus’s voyage throughout the West Indies, elevating questions about the explorer’s motivations and providing a arguable concept approximately the place, precisely, Columbus landed. supplying new views on Caribbean prehistory to either students and normal readers, the publication ends with the Spaniards’ arrival and the Lucayans’ demise.

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He recognized that Las Casas had never observed the Guanahatabeyes, and that the assertion of Las Casas that they lived in  caves "must not be taken as in complete harmony with reality" (1935:22). Furthermore, because reports of the Guanahatabeyes were not based on firsthand  observations Loven reasoned that they must have been provided by the Tainos (1935:4): "The information obtained from the Cuban Tainos about the general cultural  standpoint of this race, does not harmonize with their proper characteristics as established by the conclusions to which Cosculluela and Harrington came, through their  excavations of the Cuban dwelling­sites. " Finally, Loven concluded that, notwithstanding local traditions of "Wild Indians" killing the cattle of the seventeenth­century  colonists and other reports as late as the mid­nineteenth century, it had not been established that "primitive people still lived in the most western part of Cuba at the  time of the Conquest'' (1935:4). Within seven years the reasoned opinions of Loven were replaced by a less critical attitude. In the report of his investigations of the "Ciboney Culture of Cayo  Redondo, Cuba," Cornelius Osgood (1942:50) stated: "Traditionally there lived in Cuba a primitive people distinguished in language and culture from the Arawak and  Carib who dominated the West Indies in the time of the Spanish conquistadors. Apparently many of them had been made slaves or had been put into an inferior caste  when the Arawaks moved into the east of Cuba, but those in the extreme west remained as before and in early historic times came to be known as the      Page 6 Guanahacabibes or Ciboney, a group of semi­mythical cave dwellers, who were finally shot down like predatory animals for killing the cattle which wandered away  from the early haciendas. There can be little doubt that the dwellers on Cayo Redondo belonged to this same group of Ciboney. " The cultural synthesis that has served as the basis of most studies in West Indian prehistory is Rouse's (1948) contribution to the Handbook of South American  Indians. Rouse reported that the Ciboney were the original inhabitants of the West Indies, as indicated by their peripheral position during historic times; that it was  commonly assumed that they originated in Florida; that most sites were coastal shell heaps; and that their cultural characteristics were best understood in apposition to  the Tainos. In other words, they were nonagricultural hunter­fisher­gatherers who lived in caves or used windbreaks in the open, wore breechcloths or girdles made of  vegetable fiber, did not deform their foreheads, lacked pottery, lived in small social groups, held property in common, and possessed a non­Taino religion. In Rouse's (1948) report it was assumed that the Ciboney survived in western Cuba until contact, and that isolated groups of Ciboney­like Indians also survived until  contact on the Guaicayarima peninsula in southwestern Haiti. The Haitian Ciboney were first reported by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo prior to his arrival on  Hispaniola.

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