By: Aamna Salim, Neetya Shah, Maureen
Whittelsey, Jake Walker
Estimated Population pre-contact with Europeans: 300,000 - 400,000
Estimated Population after 100 years of contact: less than 600
The Arawak were not immune
to European diseases such as smallpox.
The Arawak were forced to
work in dangerous mine fields.
Settlement Maps
Caribbean Islands Today
Important Figures
The Lokono- Arawak territory was founded by Johnson ferguson and
Emanuel Ferguson. They became the first founding family.
Austin Clenkain was a chief in the Arawak tribe.
George Simon and Telford Taylor were internationally recognized sculptors
and artists in the Arawak tribe.
Princess Marian was the last descendent hereditary Lokono-Arawak tribe.
Amorotahe Haubariria was the last hereditary Chief of the Lokono-Arawak
tribe, he was also known as the Flying Harpy Eagle.
Important Events
In 1492, Christopher Columbus had begun his first voyage and visited multiple islands. Among them was the
Arawak people making them one of the first American people to see Europeans.
By 1519, only a few thousand Arawak people were left, due to the Europeans bringing new species of plants and
animals. However, there were some left on the mainland of South America.
In the 16th century Spain allied with the Arawak tribe. This resulted in the Arawak engaging in trade and
relationships with the Europeans and gaining prosperity.
In 1883, a new Arawak tribe was founded by Johnson and Emanuel Ferguson.
In the 19th century the Arawak tribe suffered due to economic and social changes in their region, this included the
end of the plantation economy.
Belief System
The Arawak peoples believed in a polytheistic religion, or a religion that
worships many gods. Their gods were called zumi. They believed that zumi had
total control over the universe. Arawak peoples also had a strong belief in the
afterlife and worshipping their ancestors. Throughout their period of existence,
they constructed many statues, figurines of their gods, and religious buildings.
To honor their gods and ancestors, they had many religious ceremonies that
including singing and dancing in a central plaza. These ceremonies were
typically lead by priests and spiritual healers. Both the priests
and healers held a very high place in Arawak society.
Most people in the Arawak civilization spoke the native Arawak language
named Lokono. However, many people of the Arawak civilization were
bilingual. Languages spoken include Spanish, French, and Dutch. The Arawak
culture was heavily influenced by art, some of the most important artwork of the
culture included pottery and intricate wood carvings. Legends and storytelling
played a large role in Arawak culture and were passed down from generation to
generation. These legends involved many spiritual animals and war stories.
Arawaks lived in very simple huts that required little heating due to the warm
climate they lived in. These huts were constructed from a wood frame that
would then be covered in straw. These Arawak homes were called thatch huts.
Interactions with Europeans
The Arawak Tribe are believed to have been the first native peoples that
Columbus encountered. The Europeans wrote the that they were very kind, hard
working, hospitable, and fast learners. Not long after their arrival, the Europeans
realized that they could take advantage of the Arawak Tribe and and use them as
laborers.They were forced to be servants, coal miners, and plantation workers.
Nearly all the Arawak Tribe had died only fifty years after the arrival of the
Europeans. Many fell to the illnesses the Europeans brought with them, which they
had no immunity to. Others died of starvation, suicide, or were murdered by the
Europeans because they did not work hard enough. Historians say that by the 1500s
nearly 85% of the Arawak tribe had died off.
Political System
The Arawak tribe did not contain a central government. Every tribe had its own
local leader that ruled the area and acted as governor to the tribe. This leader
was called the “Cacique”, which translates into “chief”. The chief was usually
chosen by a religious leader or passed down through family members. The only
requirement for being chief was that the chief has to be male. The chief would
rule his area with complete authority and control.
Additional Pictures
Works Cited
Works Cited