/ar"euh wahk', -wak'/, n., pl. Arawaks, (esp. collectively) Arawak.
1. a member of an Indian people once widespread in the Antilles but now confined to northeastern South America.
2. the language of the Arawaks.

* * *

American Indians of the Greater Antilles and South America who spoke languages of the Arawakan linguistic group.

The Taino were one Arawak group. The Arawak were apparently the people who Christopher Columbus first encountered in 1492. The South American Arawak inhabited northern and western areas of the Amazon River basin, where they farmed, hunted, and fished. Their society was relatively nonhierarchical. The Campa Arawak lived in the foothills of the Andes Mountains but remained isolated from influences of the Andean civilizations.

* * *

      American Indians of the Greater Antilles and South America. The Taino, an Arawak subgroup, were the first native peoples encountered by Christopher Columbus (Columbus, Christopher) on Hispaniola. The island Arawak were virtually wiped out by Old World diseases to which they had no immunity. A small number of mainland Arawak survive in South America. Most (more than 15,000) live in Guyana, where they represent about one-third of the Indian population. Smaller groups are found in Suriname, French Guiana, and Venezuela. Their language, also called Arawak (Arawakan languages), is spoken chiefly by older adults, a characteristic that commonly foretells the death of a language.

      The Antillean Arawak, or Taino, were agriculturists who lived in villages, some with as many as 3,000 inhabitants, and practiced slash-and-burn cultivation of cassava and corn (maize). They recognized social rank and gave great deference to theocratic chiefs. Religious belief centred on a hierarchy of nature spirits and ancestors, paralleling somewhat the hierarchies of chiefs. Despite their complex social organization, the Antillean Arawak were not given to warfare. They were driven out of the Lesser Antilles by the Caribs shortly before the appearance of the Spanish.

      The South American Arawak inhabited northern and western areas of the Amazon basin, where they shared the means of livelihood and social organization of other tribes of the tropical forest. They were sedentary farmers who hunted and fished, lived in small autonomous settlements, and had little hierarchical organization. The Arawak were found as far west as the foothills of the Andes. These Campa Arawak, however, remained isolated from influences of the Andean civilizations.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Arawak — Frau von John Gabriel Stedman Die Arawak, Aruak oder Arawaken (aus dem Lokono aru, „Cassava Blüte“) sind ein indigenes Volk an der Nordküste Südamerikas. Die Arawak sind namensgebend für die Ethnische Gruppe der Arawak, die sich über fast ganz… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Arawak — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Arawak puede referirse a: Pueblos y etnias arawak de América del Sur. Lenguas arawak, familia de lenguas de América del Sur. Idioma arawak lokono propiamente dicho. Obtenido de Arawak Categoría:… …   Wikipedia Español

  • arawak — ● arawak nom masculin Famille de langues indiennes parlées par les Arawaks …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Arawak — [ä′rä wäk΄, ar′ə wak΄] n. 1. a member of a South American Indian people living chiefly in NE South America and formerly in the West Indies 2. the language of this people …   English World dictionary

  • Arawak — Los arawak o aruacos son indígenas americanos, que fueron vistos por los españoles en el Caribe y se caracterizaban por ser una etnia amigable. Incluyen a los taínos, que ocupaban las Antillas Mayores y Bahamas, los nepoya y suppoyo de Trinidad y …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Arawak — noun (plural Arawak or Arawaks) Etymology: earlier Arwaca, Aroaca, an Arawak subgroup of 16th century Trinidad, perhaps from an Arawak name for the subgroup Date: 1769 1. a member of an Indian people of the Arawakan group now living chiefly along …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Arawak — Arawaks Femme arawak, par John Gabriel Stedman (gravure colorée datée de 1818) Les Arawaks (arahuacos en espagnol) sont des Amérindiens des Antilles issus de la forêt amazonienne, proches de la culture saladoïde (ce nom est issu du site éponyme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Arawak — The term Arawak (from aru , the Lokono word for cassava flour), was used to designate the Amerindians encountered by the Spanish in the West Indies. These include the Taíno, who occupied the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas (Lucayan) and Bimini… …   Wikipedia

  • Arawak — 1. adjective Pertaining to the Arawak peoples or their languages. 2. noun a) An Amerindian people who lived in the region of the Caribbean when the Spanish arrived in America. b) A group of Amerindian languages spoken around the …   Wiktionary

  • Arawak — Arawạk,   Völker und Sprachfamilie in Südamerika, Aruak …   Universal-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”