Who are the Garifuna people?

Origin of the Garifuna people

In 1935, two ships carrying slaves stolen from West Africa were shipwrecked near present-day St. Vincent in the West Indies. The slaves fled and sought refuge among the Amerindians, the Caribbean peoples of the island. The slaves have adapted to the local culture in an attempt to avoid slavery – they have also been protected by the Caribbean community which has also resisted the European invasion of the islands. West Africans and the Caribs began mixed marriage, giving birth to the Garifuna people. In 1795, the French pushed the Garifuna people out of San Vincenzo to the nearby island of Bequia. Along with other people in the neighboring islands, the Garifuna fled to Honduras. With 1802, they migrated to Belize. Led by Thomas Vincent Ramos,

Languages ​​spoken by the Garifuna people

The Garifuna speak the Garifuna language that developed due to the interaction between the origins of West Africa, the Arawak and the Caribbean. Language is an Arawak language that has Spanish, French and English influence due to the long history of interaction with colonialists. Men or women can only use particular vocabularies, a practice derived from an ancient Caribbean practice during the colonial era. Although he spoke with a large number of people, the Garifuna language is not considered a real language and has no written components. The lack of the written component makes the language difficult to learn unless it is early childhood. Most children learn garifuna as a cultural language and Spanish, English or both as an official language.

Distribution of Garifuna people

The Honduras Garifuna moved from Roatan to the mainland in Honduras with the help of the Spaniards. Today, around 100,000 Garifuna live in modern cities and villages along the coast of Masca, Plaplaya and Gracias a Dios. In Guatemala, the Garifunas inhabit Livingston, a small remote town on the Caribbean coast. The city served as the main port of the country before the construction of Puerto Barrios. Livingston can only be reached by boat and is a major tourist attraction. A population of around 8,000 resides in Corn Island, Nicaragua. Initially they headed to the country in 1912. A large number reside in the United States in search of better opportunities. Around 100,000 live in the city of New York, while other cities include New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles.

Culture of the Garifuna people

The Garifuna culture is a blend of Caribbean marine culture and ancient African agricultural culture. The language, dance and music of the Garifuna have been declared “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. The musical style of Garifuna combines the use of instruments, in particular drums made of carved hardwood. Garifuna drinks and food consist of native Central American crops, bananas, cassava and coconut milk soup. Local food is produced from crops and the Garifuna rarely consumes modern, refrigerated or preserved food.

Threats to the people of Garifuna

The disease and the war devastated the Caribs to extinction. Today the Garifunas are considered the last remaining descendants of the Carib. They are called Black Caribs and the only people that reflect the culture of the Amerindians who originally lived in the Caribbean islands. The modernization of their ancient homes in Belize and Honduras, and the pressure to communicate in Spanish or English, is leading to the death of their language.

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