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Carib
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Carib

This article is about the Island Carib, who lived on the islands of the Caribbean. For the Carib language-speaking peoples of the South American continent, see Carib languages.

The Carib or Island Carib are a people of the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named. Originally from South America, they are believed to have left the Orinoco jungles of Venezuela to settle in the Caribbean. When Europeans arrived on the Caribbean Islands in the 16th century, they found the Caribs to be aggressive and warlike, and practises of cannibalism were found among them. They used to inhabit various Caribbean islands, but were later pushed out by European colonists and were able to retain only two islands Dominica and Saint Vincent. The Island Carib of Saint Vincent were relocated to Honduras in 1796, where their descendants, the Garífuna, live today. Their resistance delayed the settlement of Dominica by Europeans, and a few thousand of them still remain there. The last known speakers of Island Carib died in the 1920's.

Some common words in use in English were borrowed from the Carib language, such as "hammock," "iguana," and "maize."

The word "cannibalism" is derived from Caniba, another name for the Carib, although through a different process than word-borrowing. Although some Native Americans have practiced cannibalism (as have some Europeans), Christopher Columbus's characterization of the Carib as eaters of human flesh more likely reflected his desire to represent them as savages; in 1503 Queen Isabella ruled that only cannibals could be taken as slaves legally, which encouraged Europeans to identify various Native American groups as cannibals.

The Carib were at the time of European discovery aggressively advancing against the Arawakan Taíno, who lived on the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. From pottery evidence, it seems likely that Arawakan peoples inhabited the Caribbean islands since 100 CE, and had inhabited the Lesser Antilles before the arrival of the Island Carib.