The La Ceiba Culture

The Garifuna society, also known as the Black Caribs, was first originated in XVII in San Vicente, about a century after the conquering of Central America, South America, and the lower Antilles. The conquerors were not interested in San Vicente and Dominica at first because of its topographic features, lack of precious metals and grasslands for cattle raising, but the Caribs did become interested because of its magnificent areas for fishing.

Who were the Caribs? The Caribs were strong, robust men, of small stature, and mongoloid physical features. They had long, black, straight and thick hair, perfectly cut to their forehead and were generally dressed in a colorful christening skirt. Their original name was Callinagu and their place of origin was from the Orinoco Delta, which they abandoned for conquering the Lower Antilles. When they arrived to the Lower Antilles, they exterminated the Arahuaco men, but decided to keep the women for their convenience. The union of these two Indian groups gave origin to a new society called the Caliponan (also known as the Yellow Caribs, Red Caribs, and Amerindians).

The beginning of the formation process was in 1635, and believed to have been caused by the sinking of two Spanish ships loaded with black slaves who were being delivered to their buyers. In those days it was common for the Caliponan to give misleading directions, which lead them to the riverbanks where they disposed the ships from their shipments (gold, wine, and slaves) and killed all of the crewmembers.Garifuna$20Flag

The Africans were anxious to establish friend links to avoid being sent back to their owners as slaves; therefore they soon adopted their customs and native garifuna language. Shortly after, they married the Caliponan women who gave birth to a whole new kind of siblings. Their descendents preserved the height and skin color of their father, who on the contrary of the Caliponan were tall and corpulent. This new society (Garifuna) centered their family life in the sexual division of work as a base for their economic activities.

Shortly after came the conquering of Barbados and Santa Lucia, and men, who could not accept the new rulers, accumulated goods and emigrated in canoes towards San Vicente (28 miles from Barbados). These men, along with the Caliponan, then became such powerful allies in their war against conquerors, that they were considered an allied and independent group.

La Ceiba developed massively when outsiders found the abundance of bananas. The business of this natural product was prosperous to the point that it brought the consideration of enormous worldwide organizations that began to build up in La Ceiba. Individuals moved to La Ceiba to work at the banana ranches and the town started to develop with national vagrants and foreigners (expatriates).

Today, La Ceiba is the third biggest city in Honduras.

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