of Caribbean Countries
Before the arrival of Columbus, there were three groups of native peoples in the Caribbean: The Arawak, the Carib, and the Ciboney. The Arawak populated the larger Caribbean Islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The Carib lived on the smaller volcanic islands of the eastern Caribbean: St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent and Tobago. They had migrated earlier from the mainland of what we now call South America.
Both the Arawak and the Carib believed in the after life. The Arawaks called the spirits of the dead opias or hubias. They were said to wander about the bush after dark, passing their time feasting and dancing. The Arawaks of Haiti believed in Coaibai, the Kingdom of Death. Every leader of importance had his own Kingdom of Death, uninhabited places where spirits roamed.
Carib and the Arawak peoples were largely annihilated by the Spaniards
with a century of contact with them. Some committed suicide rather
than live under the Spaniards. Others perished from disease and
overwork as they the first people in the western hemisphere to be
enslaved. Due to the need for labor, men and women were taken from
Africa to work as slaves.