The Garifuna (pl. Garinagu in Garifuna) are mixed-race descendants of West African, Central African, Island Carib, and Arawak people. The British colonial administration used the term Black Carib and Garifuna to distinguish them from Yellow and Red Carib, the Amerindian population who did not intermarry with Africans. Caribs who had not intermarried with Africans are still living in the islands of the Lesser Antilles. The Island Caribs lived throughout the southern Lesser Antilles, such as present Dominica, St Vincent and Trinidad. Their ancestors are believed to have conquered them from their previous inhabitants, the Igneri.
Since April 12, 1797, the Garifuna people have been living in Central America, where they speak the Garifuna language. The Garifuna people mostly live along the Caribbean Coast of Honduras, but there are also smaller populations in Belize, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. There are also many Garinagu in the United States, particularly in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Seattle, and other major cities.
The Carib people had migrated from the mainland to the islands about 1200, according to carbon dating of artifacts. They largely displaced, exterminated and assimilated the Taino who were resident on the island at the time.
The French missionary Raymond Breton arrived in the Lesser Antilles in 1635, and lived on Guadeloupe and Dominica until 1653. He took ethnographic and linguistic notes on the native peoples of these islands, including St Vincent, which he visited briefly. According to oral history noted by the English governor William Young in 1795, Carib-speaking people of the Orinoco River area on the mainland came to St. Vincent long before the arrival of Europeans to the New World. They subdued the local inhabitants called Galibeis, and unions took place between the peoples.
According to Young's record, the first Africans arrived in 1675 following the wreck of a slave ship from the Bight of Biafra. The survivors, members of the Mokko people of today's Nigeria (now known as Ibibio), reached the small island of Bequia. The Carib took them to Saint Vincent and intermarried with them, supplying the African men with wives, as it was taboo in their society for men to go unwed.
In 1635 the Carib were overwhelmed by French forces led by the adventurer Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc and his nephew Jacques Dyel du Parquet. They imposed French colonial rule on the indigenous Carib peoples. Cardinal Richelieu of France gave the island to the Saint Christophe Company, in which he was a shareholder. Later the company was reorganized as the Company of the American Islands. The French colonists imposed French Law on the inhabitants, and Jesuit missionaries arrived to convert them to the Roman Catholic Church.
Because the Carib people resisted working as laborers to build and maintain the sugar and cocoa plantations which the French began to develop in the Caribbean, in 1636 KingLouis XIII proclaimed La Traité des Noirs. This authorized the capture and purchase of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa and their transportation as labor to Martinique and other parts of the French West Indies.
In 1650, the Company liquidated, selling Martinique to Jacques Dyel du Parquet, who became governor. He held this position until his death in 1658. His widow Mme. du Parquet took over control of the island from France. As more French colonists arrived, they were attracted to the fertile area known as Cabesterre (leeward side). The French had pushed the remaining Carib people to this northeastern coast and the Caravalle Peninsula, but the colonists wanted the additional land. The Jesuits and the Dominicans agreed that whichever order arrived there first, would get all future parishes in that part of the island. The Jesuits came by sea and the Dominicans by land, with the Dominicans' ultimately prevailing.
When the Carib revolted against French rule in 1660, the Governor Charles Houel sieur de Petit Pré retaliated with war against them. Many were killed; those who survived were taken captive and expelled from the island. On Martinique, the French colonists signed a peace treaty with the few remaining Carib. Some Carib had fled to Dominica and St. Vincent, where the French agreed to leave them at peace.
Britain and France both made conflicting claims on Saint Vincent from the late seventeenth century onward. French pioneers began informally cultivating plots on the island around 1710. In 1719 the governor of Martinique sent a force to occupy it, but was repulsed by the Carib inhabitants. A British attempt in 1723 was also repelled. In 1748, Britain and France agreed to put aside their claims and declared Saint Vincent to be a neutral island, under no European sovereign. Throughout this period, however, unofficial, mostly French settlement took place on the island, especially on the Leeward side. African refugees continued to reach Saint Vincent, and a mixed-race population developed through unions with the Carib.
In 1763 by the Treaty of Paris, Britain gained rule over Saint Vincent following its defeat of France in the Seven Years' War, fought in both Europe and North America. It also took over all French territory in North America east of the Mississippi River. Through the rest of the century, the Carib-African natives mounted a series of Carib Wars, which were encouraged and supported by the French. By the end of the 18th century, the indigenous population was primarily mixed race. Following the death of their leader Satuye (Joseph Chatoyer), the Carib on St. Vincent finally surrendered to the British in 1796 after the Second Carib War, having resisted for much longer than natives on other islands. "St. Vincent was the last of the Windward Islands to be totally subjugated."
This was also in the period of the violent slave revolts in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which ultimately led to the slaves gaining the independent republic of Haiti in 1804. The French lost thousands of troops in an attempt to take back the island in 1803, many to yellow fever epidemics. Thousands of whites and free people of color were killed in the revolution. Europeans throughout the Caribbean and in the American South feared future slave revolts.
The British deported the Garifuna to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras. Based in part on their experience with slavery in other parts of the Caribbean and North America, the British separated the more African-looking Caribs from the more Amerindian-looking ones. They decided that the former had to be exiled, while the latter were "misled" and allowed to remain. Five thousand Garinagu were exiled but, weakened by captivity, about half or 2,500 survived the voyage to Roatán. Because the island was too small and infertile to support their population, the Garifuna petitioned Spanish authorities to be allowed to settle on the mainland in the Spanish colonies. The Spanish employed them, and they spread along the Caribbean coast of the Central American colonies.
Large-scale sugar production and chattel slavery were not established on Saint Vincent until the British took it over. As Great Britain abolished slavery in 1832, it operated it for roughly a generation on the island, creating a legacy different than on other Caribbean islands. Elsewhere slavery had been institutionalized for much longer.
In the 21st century, the Garifuna population is estimated to be around 600,000 in total, taking together its people in Central America, Yurumein (St. Vincent and The Grenadines), and the United States. As a result of extensive emigration from Central America, the United States has the second-largest population of Garifuna outside Central America. New York has the largest population, dominated by Garifuna from Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. Los Angeles ranks second with Honduran Garifuna being the most populous, followed by those from Belize and Guatemala. There is no information regarding Garifuna from Nicaragua having migrated to either coast of the United States. The Nicaraguan Garifuna population is quite small. Community leaders are attempting to resurrect the Garifuna language and cultural traditions.
By 2014 more Garifuna were leaving Honduras and illegally immigrating to the United States.
Garifuna (Karif) is a minority language still widely spoken in villages of Garifuna people in the western part of the north coast of Central America. It is a member of the Arawakan languages family albeit an atypical one since, 1) it is spoken outside of the Arawakan language area which is otherwise confined to the northern parts of South America, and 2) because it contains an unusually high number of loanwords, from both Carib languages and a number of European languages, attesting to an extremely tumultuous past involving warfare, migration and colonization. The language was once confined to the Antillean islands of St. Vincent and Dominica, but its speakers, the Garifuna people, were deported en masse by the British in 1797 to the north coast of Honduras from where the language and Garifuna people have since spread along the coast south to Nicaragua and north to Guatemala and Belize. It is still widely spoken in many Garifuna villages throughout this coastal region. In recent years a large number of Garifunas have settled in larger US cities, presumably as part of a more general pattern of north bound migration.
Parts of Garifuna vocabulary are split between men's speech and women's speech, i.e. some concepts have two words to express them, one for women and one for men. Moreover, the terms used by men are generally loanwords from Carib while those used by women are Arawak.
The Garifuna language was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2008 along withGarifuna music and dance.
The Garinagu (singular Garifuna) are a mix of West/Central African, Arawak, and Carib ancestry. Though they were captives removed from their homelands, these people were never documented as slaves. The two prevailing theories are that they were the survivors of two recorded shipwrecks or they somehow took over the ship on which they came. The more Western and Central African-looking people were transferred by the British from Saint Vincent to islands in the Bay of Honduras in 1796.
Their linguistic ancestors, Carib people, who gave their name to the Caribbean, once lived throughout the Lesser Antilles, and although their language is now extinct there, ethnic Caribs still live on Dominica, Trinidad, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent. The Caribs had conquered the previous population of the islands, Arawakan peoples like the Taino and Palikur peoples. During the conquest, which was conducted primarily by men, the Carib married Arawakan women. Children were raised by their mothers speaking Arawak, but as boys came of age, their fathers taught them Carib, a language still spoken in mainland South America. When European missionaries described the Island Carib people in the 17th century, they recorded two unrelated languages: Carib spoken by the men and Arawak spoken by the women. However, while the boys acquired Carib vocabulary, after a few generations, they retained the Arawakan grammar of their first language. Thus, Island Carib, as spoken by men, was genetically either a mixed language or a relexified language. Over the generations, men substituted fewer Arawak words, and many Carib words diffused to the women so the amount of distinctly male vocabulary diminished until both genders spoke Arawak, with an infusion of Carib vocabulary and distinct words in only a handful of cases.
The vocabulary of Garifuna is composed as follows:
45 % Arawak (Igñeri)
25 % Carib (Kallínagu)
15 % French
10 % English
5 % Spanish or English technical terms
Also, there are a few words from African languages.
English - Garifuna
man - wügüri
woman - würi
European - baranagüle
good - irufunti
anger/hate - yeregu
weapon/whip - arabai
garden - mainabu (in older texts, maina)
small vessel - guriara
bird - dunuru
housefly - were-were
tree - wewe
lizard/iguana - wayamaga
star - waruguma
sun - weyu
rain - gunubu
wind - bebeidi (in older texts bebeité)
fire - watu
mountain - wübü
water, river - duna
sea - barana
sand - sagoun
path - üma
stone - dübü
island - ubouhu
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garifuna_language (4.30.2016)