Wadadli Antigua

image of Antigua and Barbuda Pre-HistoryThe names in the list are the current and original names of the leeward islands long before Christopher Columbus and European colonization of the Caribbean islands. The original names are written in one of the many languages used by the different Amerindian groups from Central and South America, who first inhabited most of the islands.

Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, most of the Caribbean was peopled by three types, or groups, of inhabitants: the Ciboney or Guanahuatebey, the Taino or Arawak, and the Caribs. The cultural distinctions among the three groups are not great; the single greatest differentiating factor appears to be their respective dates of arrival in the region.

The Ciboney seem to have arrived first and were found in parts of Cuba and the Bahamas. They also seem to have had the most elementary forms of social organization. The most numerous groups were the Arawaks, who resided in most of the Greater Antilles--Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (presently, Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico.

Amerindian Settlements

The smaller eastern island chain was the home of the Caribs, a tropical forest group related to most of the indigenous Indians found in Central and South America. Barbados and a number of smaller islands were not permanently inhabited.

Amerindian boat The story of Christopher Columbus discovering Antigua and the Caribbean islands in 1492 is neither true or accurate. Amerindian settlements in Antigua date back to at least to 2400 BC. In South America a total of 34 language families and over a dozen isolated stocks combining about 1000 individual languages have been identified.