Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Caribs, American aborigines, who are widespread throughout the north-eastern parts of South America, and who formerly occupied all the lesser Antilles, which inclose eastwards the Caribbean Sea, so named from them. They were undoubtedly cannibals, and the very word "cannibal" is a corrupt Spanish derivative from their name. But they have long disappeared from all the islands, either exterminated or expelled, the last displacement being the removal of about 4,000 from St. Vincent to the Mosquito coast, Central America, by the English in 1798. Here their descendants the "Black Caribs," mixed with Negro and other elements, still survive, and are the most active, enterprising, and industrious people on the whole seaboard. A few also appear still to linger in Dominica, and perhaps here and there in some of the other islets. But, with these exceptions, the whole of the race is at present confined to the South American mainland, and especially to Guiana, where their numerous tribes constitute a large section of the inhabitants. They are also met in Venezuela, and in the Orinoco basin as far South as the Amazon estuary, where the tribal names Carina, Calina, Callinago, Galibi, Carabisi, etc., are all variants of the same national name Carib. Physically, they are a fine race, tall, of ruddy-brown complexion, with long face, large though slightly oblique eyes, long black hair, and features of a somewhat softened American type, though towards Brazil they have become intermingled with other races, from whom they can scarcely be distinguished except by their speech, which is a stock language fundamentally distinct from all other native American tongues. As on the islands formerly, the women are often bilingual, conversing with the men in Carib and amongst themselves in an unknown language supposed to be that of some hostile tribe whose men were exterminated, and whose women were taken captive by the Carib rovers. (See D'Orbigny, L'Homme Americain, 1839; R. Schomburgk, "Contributions," etc., in the Proceedings of the Philological Society, 1848; and Martin's Beitrage zur Ethnographie, etc., Amerika's, Leipzig, 1867.)