Why Did The Arawak tribe Disappear?

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As children, we are taught all about Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the New World, and how he is the one person responsible for discovering America. Even though we spent so much time on the topic, we were never taught about his destructive tendencies. We were never told that he was responsible for the murder and extinction of Indian tribes, such as the Arawak. Although Columbus is popular for discovering the New World, he brought diseases and slavery that killed tribes such as the Arawak.

Over 520 years ago, Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on August 3, in search of Asia where he would obtain riches such as gold and pearls. Once his journey began, him and his crew would realize that it would be a much longer voyage then they had imagined. The crew’s anxiety was at an all time high by the time October came around, but Columbus promised that if they had not found land in two days, they would go back home. The next day, on October 10, they found land that would be later known as the New World. In Christopher Columbus’s replica journal, written by Bartolome de la Casas, Columbus wrote, At two hours after midnight the land was sighted at a distance of two leagues. The vessels were hove to, waiting for daylight; and on Friday they arrived at a small island of the Lucayos, call in the language of the Indians, Guanahani. Presently, they saw naked people. This was Columbus’s first encounter with an Indian tribe, known as the Arawak (History).

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The Arawak were the original people to live in the Caribbean Islands. Arawak’s did not wear much clothing, like Columbus stated in his journal entry. The climate in the Caribbean was always warm, so men usually went without clothes unless it was for a special occasion. Women wore skirts and necklaces. The Arawak people were advanced and quite intelligent, and there ways of life were futuristic. For transportation, they used canoes that could hold up to fifty people, and they were also known as agricultural people. There most important crop was a potato-like root called cassava, and they also grew beans, squash, peppers, and corn. Arawak men would also hunt, primarily catching fish and other seafoods (Redish). The Arawak people were known to have impressed Columbus with their kindness and hospitality. They will give all that they do possess for anything that is given to them, exchanging things even or bits of broken crockery, Columbus noted as he met them. He also stated,They do not carry arms or know them.

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