From Barbecue to Hammocks and Hurricanes: the New World’s First Gifts to English

512px-Caguana_Ceremonial_Ball_Courts_Site_-_Utuado_Puerto_Rico

Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site – Utuado Puerto Rico – By Jbermudez at en.wikipedia from Wikimedia Commons

When Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, the first humans he encountered were the Taino, an Arawak people, then the most numerous group in the Caribbean, inhabiting what are now Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. They were skilled navigators and farmers with complex social systems, art, music, and poetry. But within half a century, diseases brought by the Spanish wiped out most of the Taino population. Traces of their civilization are preserved in words adopted by the Spanish that passed into English and other languages. [more]

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Lexie Kahn: Word Snooper is a blog about words and their origins at WordSnooper.com.
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