Not All Blacks Were Slaves, The Garifuna Was Not

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The Garifuna came to Belize from the Bay Islands of Honduras on 19th November 1802. explains: The Garifuna, descended from shipwrecked Africans. They were never slaves.

The Garifuna came to Belize from the Bay Islands of Honduras on 19th November 1802. They are the result of the intermingling of African slaves, Carib Indians and some Europeans. Garifuna dominate the southern towns of Punta Gorda and Dangriga as well as the villages of Seine Bight, Hopkins, Georgetown and Barranco. Some Garifuna are also residing in Belize City and Belmopan.

In the early 1800s, the Garifuna, descendants of Carib peoples of the Lesser Antilles and of Africans who had escaped from slavery, arrived in the settlement. The Garifuna had resisted British and French colonialism in the Lesser Antilles until they were defeated by the British in 1796. After putting down a violent Garifuna rebellion on Saint Vincent, the British moved between 1,700 and 5,000 of the Garifuna across the Caribbean to the Bay Islands (present-day Islas de la Bahía) off the north coast of Honduras. explains: The original name by which the Caribs were known, Galibi, was corrupted by the Spanish to Caníbal and is the origin of the English word cannibal. Extremely warlike and ferocious. The Carib language was spoken only by the men, while the women spoke Arawak. This was so because Arawak women, captured in raids, were taken as wives by the Carib men.

Though commonly referred to as "Garifuna", the people are properly called "Garinagu" and the culture and language are "Garifuna". The Garinagu are recent arrivals to Belize, settling the southern coast of Belize in the early 19th century. The epic story of the Garinagu begins in the early 1600's on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. In 1635, two Spanish ships carrying Nigerian slaves floundered and sank off the coast of St. Vincent. The slaves that survived and swam ashore found shelter in the existing Carib Indian settlements. Over the next century and a half, the two peoples intermixed, intermarried and eventually fused into a single culture, the Black Caribs or Garinagu. They were never slaves. Read more at:


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