Caribs and Arawaks
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, most of the Caribbean was peopled by three groups of inhabitants: the Ciboney (or Guanahuatebey), the Arawaks (or Tainos), and the Caribs. The cultural distinctions among the three groups are not great; the single greatest differentiating factor appears to be their respective dates of arrival in the region....The most numerous groups were the Arawaks, who resided in most of the Greater Antilles — Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the island containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico. The Lesser Antilles was the home of the Caribs....The Caribs and the Arawaks were progressively wiped out by the aftereffects of the conquest, the peaceful Arawaks suffering the greater catastrophe....Both the Caribs and the Arawaks left indelible influences on the language, diet, and way of life of the twentieth-century people who live in the region. Caribbean food crops, such as peanuts, cashew nuts, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, pumpkins, manioc, and maize, have spread around the world.