Original Names
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Name Today Original Name Name Today Original Name
Antigua Waladli Montserrat Alliouagana
Cuba Cubanacan Nevis Oualie
Dominica Waitbuli Puerto Rico Borinquen
Dominican Republic Quisqueya St. Croix Ay-ay
Grenada Camerhorne St. Kitts Liamuiga
Guadeloupe Karoukera St. Lucia Hewanorra
Haiti Haiti St. Vincent Hiroon
Jamaica Xaymaca Trinidad Kairi
Martinique Madinina    

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.

The 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.
Source: Caribbean, West Indian, African-American, or African by Dr. Arthur Lewin.