Monday, 1 June 2009

Dominica History

First Inhabitants...
Dominica has been inhabited by human beings for a long time - there is evidence that the island was inhabited in at least 3100 BC. The first settlers were the Ortoroid people who set out from the South American mainland and gradually spread northwards through the Caribbean island chain.

Evidence suggests they became extinct around 400BC. Later came the Igneri or "Arawak speakers" who settled in about 400AD. Their way of life was agricultural and peaceful with a well-defined culture. By 1400 this was about to change as a similar tribe, the Kalinago or as the "Caribs" (as they became more commonly known) departed South America and aggressively moved their way up the Caribbean.

The Caribs...
The Caribs seemed to be very much into raiding and the men aggressively attacked the Igneri, stealing their women when it was deemed feasible. The Caribs were organised and were very successful in eliminating the Igneri from many of the Caribbean islands, including Dominica.

The First Europeans...
Columbus was the first European to set eyes on Dominica on 3rd November, 1493 - it was a Sunday - so he named it after the day. Dominica's history from this point in many ways mirrors that of other Caribbean islands but differs in a few very significant ways. The Spanish were the first to try to colonise islands in the Lesser Antilles and they were met with stiff resistance. Spanish attempts to colonise Dominica and surrounding islands with their Christian missionaries failed miserably - the Caribs either killed or held the missionaries hostage and the Spanish were not willing to pit their fighting skills against a skilled enemy and the rugged terrain of Dominica. In fact, this attitude pretty much summed up how the next wave of European colonists, the English and the French, were to feel when they arrived in Dominica at the start of the 1600's.


Courtesy of:
Sky Views

3 comments:

poetryfanatic said...

in high school i was told that the Ciboneys were the first people to visit/settle within the Caribbean.

Also just want to note, that i want to thank you for referring to the indigenous people as Kalinago, i cant stand hearing them called Caribs, it is similar to black people being called nigger.

Cant stand it

Maureen said...

Poetryfanatic...Your teacher was right, the Ciboneys were the first people to visit/settle within the Caribbean. I just done some reading up about them. Thanks for that info...

Likewise...I will only refer to the indigenous people by their original name Kalinago...

Peace & Love...

poetryfanatic said...

Thank you maureen

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