• The Arawak: The History and Legacy of the Indigenous Natives in South America and the Caribbean

  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Dan Gallagher
  • Length: 1 hr and 34 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $6.95

Buy for $6.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

On October 12, 1492, one of the most important “first contacts” of the modern era was made when three ships of Spanish origin approached the island archipelago now known as the Bahamas, cautiously dropping anchor as the captain of the fleet gazed across to what he assumed was the coast of India. According to the popular version of the story, amazed at the sight of ships and men of such unfamiliar appearance, the native people of the island plunged into the clear waters of the Western Atlantic, expertly swimming or aboard dugout canoes, and came out to greet the strangers.

In all probability, the meeting was much more cautious and incremental, but the idea that these innocent people, raised in a tropical Eden, might embrace with such open enthusiasm their own destruction is picturesque and no doubt appeals to contemporary perceptions. By whatever means one might choose to view it, this meeting of cultures certainly did mark the beginning of a bold new chapter in the history of Europe and the beginning of the end of an ancient race of native people occupying a vast new continent. 

The entries into Christopher Columbus’ log as he recorded his first encounters with the indigenous people of the “Indies” are very telling. The island people arrived alongside his ships, offering humble gifts that Columbus described as “parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells”. These were the Taínos people, or the “Arawaks”, as they would come to be known, and Columbus described them as “well built...with good bodies and handsome features”. 

This description, while deceptively simple, had a chilling implication, because Columbus was not taking note of these facts out of idle interest but in terms of how best to exploit them. As the natives offered up gifts and the open hand of friendship, and by implication the freedom of their islands, Columbus remarked simply on their primitive appearance, their primeval technology, and how easy they would be to overcome. He noted, “They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron.... They would make fine servants.”

What Columbus wanted in the first instance was gold, and he was quick to observe the small items of gold jewelry worn by his visitors, which alerted him immediately to the fact there was gold to be found somewhere on these islands. To get to the bottom of it, Columbus would waste no time. Thus, a chain of events was set in motion that would permanently affect Western civilization.

The Arawak: The History and Legacy of the Indigenous Natives in South America and the Caribbean examines the culture and history of the indigenous groups and what happened when they came into contact with the Europeans. You will learn about the Arawak like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Arawak: The History and Legacy of the Indigenous Natives in South America and the Caribbean

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    42
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    38
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good content, terrible pronunciation by reader.

The title of my review pretty much sums it up. As someone from the Caribbean, it Chad's me to hear the native and Spanish pronunciations in this book utterly butchered. It was so bad that it distracted me from the content, which was pretty sound and informative for the most part.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Informative

This book was Excellent. I highly recommend reading this book. Especially to those of Caribbean/ West Indian decent. It's extremely informative pertaining to the genocide and enslavement of our people. I will give fair warning that as a Taino Descendant it hurt my soul some to read, as I cried through certain text.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great overview and easy to follow.

Great overview and easy to follow. However there were time that the narrator mis-pronounced names and Caribbean dialect that was a bit frustrating. i.e. Grenada is pronounced (grih-NAY-da) not Granada as in Granada Spain. Otherwise good . would recommend to others.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a brief history

The story was short and to the point and sad to know that some of them most of those people Arawak were extinct due to genocide.

I read this book because I discovered that after genetic testing that I have some of the boricua in me and just thought I would try to find out more about what happened to the so-called Arawak.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth a listen

This was a quick, informative listen. I wish the speaker put as much effort into the pronunciation of the Arawak, Taino, and Spanish words as he did with the French words. It felt a little cringy considering the content, which portrayed a much darker view of Christopher Columbus and the brutality towards the native peoples of the Caribbean.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

pronunciation sucked

i couldn't stand the narrator and his horrible pronunciation of Taíno and Ponce de Leon. it irked me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

informative but too brief

This was great to learn about the general outlines of the people in Caribbean, northern South America, and Florida. But it was too narrowed by the European context. It was unfortunate that they didn't have the consideration to find a reader who could spell the names properly. It made the audio format less efficient and neglected the importance of the culture so often misunderstood. Despite this, the author offers a pointed appeal for the need to exercise a thorough reconsideration of American history.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great study for a quick understanding

great presentation of what limited history we have today of the Caribbean indigenous. Author presents a great conclusion of several writings that are the only written historical evidences of a lost people group.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great history book, short and well written

The history of the Arawak isn't something that I have every heard before. I knew, from college, that African slaves were brought to the Caribbean because the indigenous people were worked to death by the post-columbian Spanish, then we moved on. But, I wanted to learn more. I am so glad I found this book, it helped me fill that gap.

If you are worried this is book is political, it isn't. This is a history book, it just lays out the facts. Some of the facts are terrible, and hard to learn about.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A good generalization of the Tainos.

Has a some historical, ethnological, but not so biographical feature of the people and culture from the islands of the Antilles.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chante O.
  • Chante O.
  • 04-28-20

Point of View

It was very interesting, the narrator read well; however disappointing that it wasn't told from the point of view of the Arawak people, it felt like a summary of history books written by colonisers on the Arawak people, there were things to learn however for the reason of point of view, I wouldn't have purchased it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for FrenchTeacher
  • FrenchTeacher
  • 07-02-21

too short - the modern descendants are a footnote

talks about them in the past only, mostly through the words of colonisers and "explorers"