The Indians of the Circum-Caribbean at the End of the Fifteenth Century.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary W. Helms, Emeritus Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: At the end of the fifteenth century A.D. the lands surrounding the Caribbean Sea were densely populated with people who were frequently organized into rank societies or chiefdoms of varying degrees of complexity. Among these polities two major spheres of political interaction can be delineated. The centre of one was the northern half of Colombia, with lower Central America (Panama and Costa Rica) and northern Venezuela as regional extensions to west and east, respectively. The centre of the other was the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles including Jamaica and Cuba. Geographically intermediate between these areas of higher political development, and in some ways linking them culturally, were the peoples of the Lesser Antilles, north-eastern Venezuela and the Venezuelan llanos (plains) north and west of the Orinoco river whose organization was less complex. On the periphery of the circum-Caribbean territories, that is, in eastern Nicaragua and Honduras, the Orinoco delta, and small portions of Cuba and Hispaniola, a few societies continued to exist at a still lower, tribal, level of cultural development.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1984
Caribbean, societies, anthropology, chiefdoms, central america, 15th century, native americans

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