Cannibals of the Caribbean: scientists have confirmed the stories of Columbus about the bloodthirsty tribes

In the diaries of Christopher Columbus contains heart-rending stories about the Indian peoples of the Caribbean. The Navigator described their raids on peace-loving neighbours, the arawaks, the abduction of women, murder of men and cannibalism.

Specify that in these records we are talking about pekarevskiy branch of the Arawak – Lucano. This people inhabited the Bahamas. Lucani were the first native Americans who met the Spaniards.

In the stories about the first expedition of the years 1492-93 Columbus remembered that he saw the wounded natives. They were signaling him that they were attacked by the natives from other Islands.

Many experts believed these stories myths because there was no evidence that the Caribs, who lived in South America, has moved so far to the North. Archaeological evidence suggests that their closest “Outpost” was about a thousand miles South of the Bahamas.

However, scientists from several research centers in the United States believe that the records of Columbus about the cruel Caribs, the cannibals were not fiction.

the authors of the new work analyzed the morphological characteristics of more than a hundred skulls of the inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands, who died in the period between 800 and the year 1542.

the Team used a technique similar to the facial recognition technology, only in archaeological and historical context. It is based on finding and comparing certain “landmarks”, such as the size of the orbit or the length of the nose.

These markers on a digital three-dimensional images help determine how closely people are genetically related to each other.

Thanks to these characteristics, the experts were able to shed light on the history of settlement in the Caribbean.

the Researchers used for comparison of skulls of 16 anatomical markers.Illustration Of Ann Ross/North Carolina State University.

it Turned out that the studied skulls belonged to people three groups. One of them settlers, who came from the Yucatan to Cuba. (By the way, these data confirm the results of previous studies based on the examination of artifacts, for example, stone tools).

the Second group of arawaks who migrated northward from the coastal areas of present-day Colombia and Venezuela in the period from 800 to 200 BC. Via Puerto Rico the arawaks went to the Bahamas. They first settled in these Islands, not the immigrants from Cuba, as previously thought.

meanwhile, the third identified group was the Caribs, who also migrated from South America and has roots in Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas around 800 ad.

Turns out, Christopher Columbus was really able to meet the representatives of the Caribs and the arawaks (Lukanov) in the Bahamas.

it is Noteworthy that the new data suggest an abnormality associated with a number of artifacts. This pottery of malakoi (Meillacoid).

Archaeologists for a long time could not understand why these items appeared in Haiti around the year 800 ad, in Jamaica – about a hundred years later, and in the Bahamas for about a century. Now it is possible to explain invasion and spread of the Caribbean.

the Fragments of pottery melanoid. Archaeologists believe that its appearance on the Caribbean Islands cultural trail the invasion of Caribs from South America.Photo by William Keegan/Florida Museum of Natural History.

But is it true that the Caribs were cannibals? Quite possibly, the authors of the work.

it is Known that the arawaks and the Caribs lived side by side and hated. Therefore, we cannot exclude that the more bloodthirsty the people resorted to cannibalism in order to intimidate their enemies, scientists say.

While it may well be that representations of Europeans about the natives, man-eating had a huge impact on the history of the region.

the fact that the initially Spanish monarch insisted that in the course of colonization, indigenous peoples genderhave Uchali fee for the work and to be treated with respect. But the crown changed its position when it was reported that the natives refused to convert to Christianity and, furthermore, feed on human flesh.

It was after this, according to historians, the Spaniards decided to enslave the daring of the Caribbean, which began to carry all of the Caribbean.

More information about this study described in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.

by the Way, before “Conduct.Science” ( told about the reasons of cannibalism of ancient people and that the genes of the natives of the Caribbean Islands are still “alive”.

Text: To.Science