The Caribbean

Island Societies

The largest group of people living in the islands of the Caribbean were the Tainos. Their villages were governed by chieftains, or "caciques," who enjoyed some distinctions of rank but received tribute in times of crisis only. Related families lived together in large houses built of poles, mats, and thatch.

The Tainos were known for their fine wood carving and hammocks woven from cotton. Not a particularly warlike people, they played ceremonial ball games, possibly as a substitute for warfare and as an outlet for competition between villages and chiefdoms.

The other major group living in the Caribbean were the more mobile and aggressive Caribs, who took to the sea in huge dugout canoes. By the late 15th century, the Caribs had expanded into the smaller islands of the eastern Caribbean from the mainland, displacing or intermingling with the Tainos.

Continue the Voyage with Middle American Cultures or abandon ship and use the Outline.