What is the Caribbean? • How is the Caribbean geographically defined?
Definitions of the Caribbean • …the islands lying within the compass of the Caribbean sea. (Webster’s Universal Dictionary and Thesaurus 2003:849) • (Caribbean sea – part of the Western Atlantic ocean bounded by the east coast of Central America, the north coast of South America and the West Indies)
Definitions of the Caribbean cont’d • The term Caribbean is applied to certain of the West Indian isles and the sea between them and the main land (Oxford English Dictionary 1989)
Definitions of the Caribbean cont’d • The Caribbean area comprises the islands extending from Trinidad, Aruba, Margarita, and others off the coast of Venezuela in the south, to Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola (the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic). The main groupings are the four Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles (composed of the island arc (about forty inhabited islands) that extends from the Virgin Islands in the northeast to Grenada in the south— emphasis added) and Trinidad and Tobago
Definitions of the Caribbean cont’d • A few units such as San Andres and Providencia and Honduras’ Bay Islands….are included, though the Bahamas are not (International Encyclopedia of the social Sciences 1968:306)
Major strength of these definitions • We are able to locate (on a map) the general area known as the Caribbean
Weaknesses of these definitions • They are all geographic • Very general • uncertain which islands to include as Caribbean • they include territories which are not considered Caribbean • they exclude territories which are considered Caribbean • being specific leaves no alternative than to list all the territories individually
Linguistic Definition of the Caribbean • Any effective definition of the Caribbean will consider the following • Indigenous peoples • Contact with Europeans and Colonization • Slavery • Immigrant peoples
Linguistic Definition of the Caribbean • The Caribbean refers to all the territories which have a localized version of a European language acting as the official language and a Creole language which acts as the national language of the population. Additionally these territories have a history of Indigenous and Immigrant languages in the speech community.
Pre-Columbian Peoples Distribution and Languages
The Pre-Columbian People • What were the groups which were present in the Caribbean? • The Warao also referred to as Tivitians • The Caribs • The Arawaks
Pre-Columbian Peoples cont’d • What was the distribution of the Amerindians in the Caribbean region? • Arawaks -- chiefly Greater Antilles and mainland territories (coast and inland) • Caribs & Warao -- chiefly Lesser Antilles and mainland territories (coast and inland)
Languages which were spoken • Kalinya or Caribs • Lokono or Arowak • Wayana • Trio • Warau
What happened with the coming of the Europeans? • Demise of indigenous population and languages because of: - • The widespread distribution of the ethnically different Amerindian groups • European diseases against which the Amerindians had no immunity • Groups amalgamated • Slave Trade
Amerindian Groups in Suriname in 2000 Language Family Language Location Arawakan Arawak/Lokono coastal area Mawayana Sipaliwini River Cariban Kali’na coastal area Trio Palumeu, Tapanahoni, Sipaliwini R. Wayana Palumeu, Tapanahoni, Maroni & Lawa Rivers Akuriyo Tapanahoni and Sipaliwini River Sikiiyana Sipaliwini River Tunayana/Katuena Sipaliwini River (Carlin et al 2002:37)
Conclusion • ‘Every last word is a lost world’