July 17, 2012
British journalist publishes 256-page book on Black Caribs

More literature is now available on the Garifuna people, also known as the Black Caribs, who consider this country their ancestral home.{{more}}

Christopher Taylor, a journalist with the Guardian newspaper in London, has published a 256-page book, “The Black Carib Wars: Freedom, Survival and The Making of The Garifuna”.

The website says Taylor’s book “offers the most thoroughly researched history of the struggle of the Garifuna people to preserve their freedom on the island of St Vincent”.

The book “promises to shed new light on this troubling time and hopefully add to what is currently known about Garifuna history,” Amazon further says in its book description.

The book draws on Taylor’s extensive research in Britain, France, and St Vincent to offer a compelling narrative of the formative years of the Garifuna people, Amazon further says.

As part of his research for the book, Taylor joined a delegation of Garifunas from the United States who visited this country in 2009.

Taylor had first heard about the Garifuna people when he worked in Nicaragua almost 25 years ago, when they were assisting each other in maintaining and recovering their language.

The Garifuna people live in SVG, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the United States.

Their ancestors were native Carib Indians and shipwrecked or runaway West African slaves, hence the name “Black Caribs”.

In the 1600s the Black Caribs encountered Europeans as adversaries and allies.

But, from the early 1700s, Europeans, particularly the French, began to settle on St Vincent. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 handed the island to the British who wanted the Black Caribs’ land to grow sugar.

There was a series of bloody wars, punctuated by uneasy peace and the Black Caribs took on the might of the British Empire.

Over decades Black Carib leaders, including Joseph Chatoyer — the National Hero of St Vincent and the Grenadines — organized resistance against the British.

The indigenous Vincentians were defeated in 1796 after their French allies abandoned them.

More than 5,000 Black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras, in 1797.

“The Black Carib Wars” is the second book by Taylor, who wrote “The Beautiful Game: A Journey through Latin American Football” in 1998. (KXC)