The invention of the hammock

8 Jan 2018 - News

Many do not know that the first inhabitants of the island were the Arawaks Indians (Tainos), skilled sailors originating in Guyana, arrived in Jamaica between the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

They lived in huts built with wood and mud. The villages were formed by several family clans and were led by “Cacique” (Chief). They lived on agriculture, fishing and hunting. They cultivated marimuthu (potato-like tuber), beans, spices and cassava (manioc) with which they cooked cakes and fermented to obtain beer. The Arawak baptized the island with the name of Xaimaca (the Land of water and wood).

The Arawak Indians had neither the wheel nor the written language, they did not used towing animals and the metals except for some small crude ornamental object in gold. They were skilled potters, wood sculptors and boat builders (canoes). It is said that Christopher Columbus was impressed by the size of the canoes that they built by carving the Cotton three (Great Centenary Tree). They also cultivated cotton and were skilled weavers and made clothes, sails for boats, and invented hammocks.

There’s almost nothing left of this civilization. In fact, after the arrival of Columbus, the fault of the hard work and the European diseases against which they had no antibodies, they all died slowly. Of them remains a small museum located in Spanish Town.


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