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(p.9) Chapter 1 Youroumaÿn
The Black Carib Wars
Christopher Taylor
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter describes the island of YouroumaŸn (known to Europeans as St. Vincent) and the life of the Caribs who lived there. Adrien Le Breton, a Jesuit missionary who spent ten years living there at the end of the seventeenth century, described the island as about twenty-two miles from north to south and fourteen to sixteen miles wide, with fertile land to grow crops, woods to hunt game, and a surrounding sea abundant with fish. Carib men could take as many wives as they could provide for, and having many wives and children was an indicator of status. Women were constantly busy, not just looking after the home and children but growing crops, preparing food, and spinning cotton. The chapter also traces the origins of the Black Caribs of St. Vincent, which begins with a shipwreck. As the story goes, at some point a European ship carrying enslaved Africans foundered in the area of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and some or all of its human cargo made it to shore and were taken in by the native inhabitants.

Keywords:   St. Vincent, Black Caribs, wives, Carib men, enslaved Africans

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