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The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]


C A R I B E.

It was formerly a very rich tract of land, situate on the shore of the river Cazanare, a stream which crosses and stops the pass into the country and for this reason there was a considerable establishment formed here by persons who belonged to tlie curacy of Santa Rosa de Chire. Its temperature is hot, but it is very fertile, and abounds in productions, which serve to provide for the other settlements belonging to the same missions : at present it is under the care of the religious order of St. Domingo.

CARIBANA, a large country, at the present day called Guayana Maritania, or Nueva Andaiucia Austral. It extends from the mouth of the river Orinoco to the mouth of the Marahon ; comprehends the Dutch colonies of Esquibo, Surinam, and Berbice, and the French colony of Cayenne. It takes its name from the Caribes Indians, who inhabit it, and who are very fierce and cruel, although upon amicable terms with the Dutch. Nearly the whole of this province is uncultivated, full of woods and mountains, but watered by many rivers, all of which run for the most part from s. to e. and empty themselves into the sea ; although some flow from s. ton. and enter the Orinoco. The climate, though warm and humid, is healthy ; the productions, and the source of its commerce, are sugar-cane, some cacao, wild wax, and incense. The coast, inhabited by Europeans, forms the greater part of this tract of country, of which an account will be found under the respective articles.

Caribana, a port on the coast of Tierra Firme, in the province and government of Darien, at the entrance of the gulf of Uraba.

CARIBE, a small port of the coast of Tierra Firme, in the province and government of Venezuela, to the w. of cape Codera.

Caribe, Caribbee, or Charaibes, some islands close upon the shore of the province and government of Cumana, near the cape of Tres Puntas. [The Caribbee islands in the West Indies extend in a semicircular form from the island of Porto Rico, the easternmost of the Antilles, to the coast of S. America. The sea, thus inclosed by the main land and the isles, is called the Caribbean sea; and its great channel leads n. zo. to the head of the gulf of Mexico through the sea of Honduras. The chief of these islands are, Santa Cruz, Sombuca, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Bartholomew, Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatia, St. Christopher, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Guadalupe, Dcseada, Mariagalante, Dominica, Martinica, St. Vincent, Barbadoes, and Grenada. These are again classed into Windward and Leeward isles bv

seamen, with regard to the usual courses of ships from Old Spain or the Canaries to Cartagena or New Spain and Porto Bello. The geographicaltablesand maps class them into Great and Little Antilles ; and authors vary much concerning this last distinction. See Antilles. The Charaibes or Caribbecs were the ancient natives of the Windward islands ; hence many geographers confine the term to these isles only. Most of these were anciently possessed by a nation of cannibals, the terror of the mild anti inotfensive inhabitants of Hispaniola, who frequently expressed to Columbus their dread of these fierce invaders. Thus, when these islands were afterwards discovered by that great man, they were denominated Charibbean isles. The insular Charaibs are supposed to be immediately descended from the Galibis Indians, or Charaibes of S. America. An ingenious and learned attempt to trace back the origin of the Caribes to some emigrants from the ancient hemisphere may be found in Bryan Edwards ; and it is to the valuable work of this author that we are indebted for the following illustrations of the manners and customs of this people. — The Caribes are avowedly of a fierce spirit and warlike disposition. Historians have not failed to notice these among the most distinguishable of their qualities. Dr. Robertson, in Note X Cl II. to the first vol. of hisHistory of America, quotes from a MS. History of Ferdinand and Isabella, Avrittenby Andrew Bernaldes, the cotemporary and friend of Columbus, the folloAving instance of the bravery of the Caribes : A canoe with four men, two Avomen, and a boy, unexpectedly fell in with Columbus’s fleet. A Spanish, bark with 25 men was sent to take them; and the fleet, in the mean time, cut off their communication with the shore. Instead of giving way to despair, the Caribes seized their arms with imdauntcd resolution, and began the attack, wounding several of the Spaniards, although they had targets as well as other defensive armour ; and even after the canoe was overset, it was with no little difficulty and danger that some of them Avere secured, as they continued to defend themselves, and to use their bows with great dexterity while swimming in the sea. Herrera has recorded the same anecdote. Restless, enterprising, and ardent, it would seem they considered war as the chief end of their creation, and the rest of the human race as their natural prey ; for they devoured, without remorse, the bodies of such of their enemies (the men at least) as fell into their hands. Indeed, there is no circumstance in the history of mankind better attested than the universal prevalence of these practices among them. Columbus was not]

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