Tainos and Caribs | The Aboriginal Cultures of the Antilles


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This book was published originally in Spanish under the title Taínos y caribes, las culturas aborígenes antillanas.

Since its publication in 2003, it has been recognized as having contributed to a better understanding among the general public of the history of the Antillean cultures before, during and after the arrival of the Europeans.Over the years, I have received a considerable number of requests from people around the world expressing their desire that the book be made available in English.

Tainos and Caribs: The Aboriginal Cultures of the Antilles was inspired by those demands. I hope that the English edition broadens the reach of knowledge from anthropologists, historians, archeologists, linguists, artists and others about the Tainos and the Caribs, two cultures that have captivated my interest and imagination for over 25 years.The original design of the book was made with great care by my daughter Claudia. This English edition reviews and updates the original text and bibliography. The complete translation from Spanish was carried out meticulously by my daughter Grace, whose great effort and enthusiasm makes this edition possible. I thank both of them for their wholehearted commitment and devotion in the publication and dissemination of this work.

Sebastián Robiou Lamarche, Author. "I knew this book would become a classic from the moment I read it in 2004. It has characteristics that distinguish it from other books on the ancient Caribbean. Notably, Robiou recognizes that Taino and Carib societies were not simple. Quite the opposite, he describes them as vibrant and sophisticated. This revision and English edition is well-timed because recent developments reaffirm the composite view of the Caribbean presented in the original publication". L. Antonio Curet, Curator, Smithsonian

Institution, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C. "Tainos and Caribs marks a milestone in the historiography of the indigenous Caribbean. Based on diverse primary sources (archaeological, linguistic, ethnohistorical), Robiou Lamarche offers a great synthesis and an in-depth analysis of the Taino chiefdoms and the Carib tribes, explored as a whole, pointing elegantly to their interconnections and their specificities. The author has the virtue, in turn, to sharply examine multiple topics that include social structures, religion, rituals and beliefs. It is required reading on the emergence of the indigenous societies of the ancient Caribbean". Francisco Moscoso, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.

"The author presents to us sequentially the main cultures that inhabited the Antilles before and during the European impact. For both the Tainos and the Caribs, he explains the main elements of their material and ideal life, highlighting their likeness as well as their differences. A brilliant research work based on archeological and ethnohistorical information". Lourdes Domínguez, Oficina del Historiador de La Habana, Cuba.

"The book is a significant contribution to the knowledge of the aboriginal world view in the Antilles. The author analyzes - among other aspects - the intimate correlation that exists between astronomical systems, climatological cycles and magic-religious beliefs, as well as agricultural practices linked to fertility rites. In the same way, his research on the bateyes or ceremonial plazas in the Antilles make plausible the existence of a solar calendar in the process of development and of myth-astronomy in the pre-Columbian islands". Manuel A. García Arevalo, Academia Dominicana de la Historia, Dominican Republic.

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