Columbus in the Caribbean
The Arawaks were a Caribbean tribe that was colonized and ultimately exterminated at the hands of the Spanish. Although famous and highly celebrated as the explorer who discovered the new world, Christopher Columbus is not seen in that same light when discussed by the indigenous people he encountered in the Caribbean. The colonization of the Arawaks seemed as if it would go smoothly. Their passive and open disposition gave the appearance of peaceful interactions to follow Columbus’ landing in the Caribbean. This was not to be.
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Columbus’ arrival (source)

Slavery of the Indigenous People
The Arawaks were a generally peaceful tribe. Their greatest warriors were not necessarily those who killed the most of the enemy, but rather humiliated their enemies by stealing from them with the least bloodshed. Other tribes in the Caribbean such as the Caribs, were not so friendly. These other tribes were violent and some, such as the Garifuna, were known cannibals. The Spanish however, did not distinguish between the Arawaks and their violent neighbors. This lack of differentiation proved fatal for the Arawaks. The Arawaks, originally the Lokono, changed their name to resemble the Aruacay area which was a region that was famous for being friends of the Christian explorers in order to imply friendship, but it was too late. The Spanish had set their sights on the pearl fisheries that the Arawaks kept. Seeing the tribe as savages, the Spanish had no reservations about using the Arawaks as slaves.

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Columbus Conquering the Indigenous People (source)

The Arawaks practiced slash and burn agriculture prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Colonialism had tremendous effects on agriculture and production for the indigenous people. Slash and burn agriculture was no longer practiced and many of the Arawaks were captured and became slaves working the fisheries, tobacco fields, and gold mines. Due to disease, starvation, and hard labor, less than a century after being colonized by the Spanish, over half of the 30,000 indigenous people in the Caribbean had been exterminated.

The World System
The World System in 1492 centered on Europe and its interaction and trade with other countries in the east. Spain was a core country that was wealthy, in power, and used goods and resources from the semi-periphery countries in the east. The Arawaks had no part in this trade until 1492 when the Spanish arrived in the Caribbean and began using their natural resources and exploiting the labor of the indigenous people. This region became a member of the group called periphery countries, that help the core countries, such as Spain, stay in power by using their labor and resources.

There are very few contemporary issues concerning the Arawak tribe since they began dying out shortly after Christopher Columbus arrived during the 15th century. During the colonization by the Spanish however, European culture and tools were adopted by the indigenous people. Culture and some aspects of language were shared between the indigenous people in the Caribbean before the arrival of the Spanish. There were many tribes that shared similar languages however their individual cultures had different emphases. As the tribe became more exposed to outside influences, the Arawak language began to be used less everyday life.

The Carib tribes were very warlike and valued strength and conquest while the Arawaks were peaceful farmers who were unlikely to defend themselves. After the Spanish colonization, the Arawaks were forced to fight against the constant raids made by Columbus. The change in culture caused an all out war and the eventual extinction of the Arawaks in the Caribbean. Some fled to South America and still reside there, however, those who remained were killed so rapidly, there was very little time for integration between the European and Caribbean cultures and therefore very little Globalization within the Caribbean.