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The Arawak Indians

Jamaica was originally inhabited by the Arawak Indians and possible the Taino from South America. The Arawak Indians were a gentle peace loving farming and fishing race. They survive mainly on a diet of maze, cassava, vegetables and fish. They grew cassava (yaca) and maize which were their main staple food which flourish in the humid, wet tropical climate.

From evidence uncovered by Jamaican National Heritage Trust we know that the Arawak Indians were great crafts men. They created intricate basket weaving, pottery, cotton weaving, stone tools, wooden and stone sculpture. There is also evidence that they grew tobacco which they made into cigars that they smoke and trade. Also produce alcohol from fermented corn which they then drank at ritual ceremonies. Jewellery was found that were made of gold, shell, bones and shell.

The demise of the Arawak Indians came shortly after Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica from Spain 1494. They were not accustom to hard labour and were force to work by the Spaniards. They were never exposed to the European disease such as smallpox and constant attack from the Carib tribe lead to their extinction.

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