As far as the pre – Columbian background in terms of demography and aboriginal cultures, the Amerindians of the Caribbean area grew out of the tropical forest Indian culture, which extended all the way from the upper Amazon basin in Peru to Venezuela the Guianas and the West Indies.  They included two (2) major language families – the Arawakans and the Cariban.  According to our Historians the Arawakan Tribe dominated the CaribbeanIslands.  They were settled communities with agricultural based economies, and having well developed cultures.  The Cariban societies never achieved the state of Civilization displayed by the Arawakan Tribes; they were more nomadic than the Arawaks.

Trinidad being the closest island to mainland separated by just seven (7) to eight (8) miles at its closest point obviously was the first point of entry or the gateway to the Caribbean.  Our historical records show that Amerindian Peoples have existed in Trinidad for as long as Six thousand (6,000) years before the arrival of Columbus and numbered at least forty thousand (40,000) at the time of Spanish settlement in 1592.

All of Trinidad was populated by several tribes, Trinidad being a transit point in the Caribbean network of Amerindian trade and exchange.  Amerindian tribes were referred to by various names:  Yaio, Nepuyo, Chaima, Warao.

Kalipuna, Carinepogoto, CArine, Arauca.

Since the Amerindians inhabited Trinidad with some groups having established settlements while others just moved from place to place according to the records available.  Arima was not sited as having an established settlement but the Amerindians must have traversed this area according to the Historical Overview ‘A Short History of Santa Rosa De Arima’ by Jean Patricia Elie, which states “Prior to this date, Arima was effectively Indian Territory.  For most of the 16th and 17th centuries the district of Arima was the home of the Nepuyo whose active resistance to Spanish Rule effectively limited Spanish attempts to control and settle northern Trinidad.  The best know of the Nepuyo was the war chief, Hyarima, who continuously harassed Spanish settlements from his base in Arima”.

 

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