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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, si-tuate on the shore of the river Cazanare, a streamwhich crosses and stops the pass into the coun-try and for this reason there was a consider-able establishment formed here by persons whobelonged to tlie curacy of Santa Rosa de Chire.Its temperature is hot, but it is very fertile, andabounds in productions, which serve to provide forthe other settlements belonging to the same mis-sions : at present it is under the care of the reli-gious order of St. Domingo.
CARIBANA, a large country, at the presentday called Guayana Maritania, or Nueva Anda-iucia Austral. It extends from the mouth of theriver Orinoco to the mouth of the Marahon ; com-prehends the Dutch colonies of Esquibo, Surinam,and Berbice, and the French colony of Cayenne.It takes its name from the Caribes Indians, whoinhabit 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 bymany rivers, all of which run for the most partfrom s. to e. and empty themselves into the sea ;although some flow from s. ton. and enter the Ori-noco. The climate, though warm and humid, ishealthy ; the productions, and the source of itscommerce, are sugar-cane, some cacao, wild wax,and incense. The coast, inhabited by Europeans,forms the greater part of this tract of country, ofwhich an account will be found under the respec-tive articles.
Caribe, Caribbee, or Charaibes, someislands close upon the shore of the province andgovernment of Cumana, near the cape of TresPuntas. [The Caribbee islands in the West In-dies extend in a semicircular form from the islandof Porto Rico, the easternmost of the Antilles, tothe coast of S. America. The sea, thus inclosedby the main land and the isles, is called the Ca-ribbean sea; and its great channel leads n. zo. tothe head of the gulf of Mexico through the sea ofHonduras. The chief of these islands are, SantaCruz, Sombuca, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Bar-tholomew, Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatia, St. Chris-topher, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Guadalupe,Dcseada, Mariagalante, Dominica, Martinica,St. Vincent, Barbadoes, and Grenada. These areagain classed into Windward and Leeward isles bv
seamen, with regard to the usual courses of shipsfrom Old Spain or the Canaries to Cartagenaor New Spain and Porto Bello. The geographi-caltablesand maps class them into Great and LittleAntilles ; and authors vary much concerning thislast distinction. See Antilles. The Charaibesor Caribbecs were the ancient natives of the Wind-ward islands ; hence many geographers confine theterm to these isles only. Most of these were an-ciently possessed by a nation of cannibals, the ter-ror of the mild anti inotfensive inhabitants of His-paniola, who frequently expressed to Columbustheir dread of these fierce invaders. Thus, whenthese islands were afterwards discovered by thatgreat man, they were denominated Charibbeanisles. The insular Charaibs are supposed to beimmediately descended from the Galibis Indians,or Charaibes of S. America. An ingenious andlearned attempt to trace back the origin of the Ca-ribes to some emigrants from the ancient hemis-phere may be found in Bryan Edwards ; and itis to the valuable work of this author that we areindebted for the following illustrations of the man-ners and customs of this people. — The Caribesare avowedly of a fierce spirit and warlike dispo-sition. Historians have not failed to notice theseamong the most distinguishable of their qualities.Dr. Robertson, in Note X Cl II. to the first vol. ofhisHistory of America, quotes from a MS. Historyof Ferdinand and Isabella, Avrittenby Andrew Ber-naldes, 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, un-expectedly 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 withthe shore. Instead of giving way to despair, theCaribes seized their arms with imdauntcd resolu-tion, and began the attack, wounding several ofthe Spaniards, although they had targets as wellas other defensive armour ; and even after thecanoe was overset, it was with no little difficultyand danger that some of them Avere secured, asthey continued to defend themselves, and to usetheir bows with great dexterity while swimmingin the sea. Herrera has recorded the same anec-dote. Restless, enterprising, and ardent, it wouldseem they considered war as the chief end of theircreation, and the rest of the human race as theirnatural prey ; for they devoured, without re-morse, the bodies of such of their enemies (themen at least) as fell into their hands. Indeed,there is no circumstance in the history of mankindbetter attested than the universal prevalence ofthese practices among them. Columbus was not]