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- Equinoctial Regions of America - 70/104 -


certain number of American words into the Castilian language. Some of these words express things not unknown before the discovery of the New World, and scarcely recall to our minds at present their barbarous origin.* (* For example savannah, and cannibal.) Almost all belong to the language of the great Antilles, formerly termed the language of Haiti, of Quizqueja, or of Itis.* (* The word Itis, for Haiti or St. Domingo (Hispaniola), is found in the Itinerarium of Bishop Geraldini (Rome 1631.)--"Quum Colonus Itim insulam cerneret.") I shall confine myself to citing the words maiz, tabaco, canoa, batata, cacique, balsa, conuco, etc. When the Spaniards, after the year 1498, began to visit the mainland, they already had words* to designate the vegetable productions most useful to man, and common both to the islands and to the coasts of Cumana and Paria. (* The following are Haitian words, in their real form, which have passed into the Castilian language since the end of the 15th century. Many of them are not uninteresting to descriptive botany. Ahi (Capsicum baccatum), batata (Convolvus batatas), bihao (Heliconia bihai), caimito (Chrysophyllum caimito), cahoba (Swietenia mahagoni), jucca and casabi (Jatropba manihot); the word casabi or cassava is employed only for the bread made with the roots of the Jatropha (the name of the plant jucca was also heard by Americo Vespucci on the coast of Paria); age or ajes (Dioscorea alata), copei (Clusia alba), guayacan (Guaiacum officinale), guajaba (Psidium pyriferum), guanavano (Anona muricata), mani (Arachis hypogaea), guama (Inga), henequen (was supposed from the erroneous accounts of the first travellers to be an herb with which the Haitians used to cut metals; it means now every kind of strong thread), hicaco (Chrysobalanus icaco), maghei (Agave Americana), mahiz or maiz (Zea, maize), mamei (Mammea Americana), mangle (Rhizophora), pitahaja (Cactus pitahaja), ceiba (Bombax), tuna (Cactus tuna), hicotea (a tortoise), iguana (Lacerta iguana), manatee (Trichecus manati), nigua (Pulex penetrans), hamaca (a hammock), balsa (a raft; however balsa is an old Castilian word signifying a pool of water), barbacoa (a small bed of light wood, or reeds), canei or buhio (a hut), canoa (a canoe), cocujo (Elater noctilucus, the fire-fly), chicha (fermented liquor), macana (a large stick or club, made with the petioles of a palm-tree), tabaco (not the herb, but the pipe through which it is smoked), cacique (a chief). Other American words, now as much in use among the Creoles, as the Arabic words naturalized in the Spanish, do not belong to the Haitian tongue; for example, caiman, piragua, papaja (Carica), aguacate (Persea), tarabita, paramo. Abbe Gili thinks with some probability, that they are derived from the tongue of some people who inhabited the temperate climate between Coro, the mountains of Merida, and the tableland of Bogota. (Saggio volume 3 page 228.) How many Celtic and German words would not Julius Caesar and Tacitus have handed down to us, had the productions of the northern countries visited by the Romans differed as much from the Italian and Roman, as those of equinoctial America!) Not satisfied with retaining these words borrowed from the Haitians, they helped also to spread them all over America (at a period when the language of Haiti was already a dead language), and to diffuse them among nations who were ignorant even of the existence of the West India Islands. Some words, which are in daily use in the Spanish colonies, are attributed erroneously to the Haitians. Banana is from the Chaconese, the Mbaja language; arepa (bread of manioc, or of the Jatropha manihot) and guayuco (an apron, perizoma) are Caribbee: curiara (a very long boat) is Tamanac: chinchorro (a hammock), and tutuma (the fruit of the Crescentia cujete, or a vessel to contain a liquid), are Chayma words.

I have dwelt thus long on considerations respecting the American tongues, because I am desirous of directing attention to the deep interest attached to this kind of research. This interest is analogous to that inspired by the monuments of semi-barbarous nations, which are examined not because they deserve to be ranked among works of art, but because the study of them throws light on the history of our species, and the progressive development of our faculties.

It now remains for me to speak of the other Indian nations inhabiting the provinces of Cumana and Barcelona. These I shall only succinctly enumerate.

1. The Pariagotos or Parias.

It is thought that the terminations in goto, as Pariagoto, Purugoto, Avarigoto, Acherigoto, Cumanagoto, Arinagoto, Kirikirisgoto,* (* The Kirikirisgotos (or Kirikiripas) are of Dutch Guiana. It is very remarkable, that among the small Brazilian tribes who do not speak the language of the Tupis, the Kiriris, notwithstanding the enormous distance of 650 leagues, have several Tamanac words.) imply a Caribbean origin.* (* In the Tamanac tongue, which is of the same branch as the Caribbean, we find also the termination goto, as in anekiamgoto an animal. Often an analogy in the termination of names, far from showing an identity of race, only indicates that the names of the nations are borrowed from one language.) All these tribes, excepting the Purugotos of the Rio Caura, formerly occupied the country which has been so long under the dominion of the Caribbees; namely, the coasts of Berbice and of Essequibo, the peninsula of Paria, the plains of Piritu and Parima. By this last name the little-known country, between the sources of the Cujuni, the Caroni, and the Mao, is designated in the Missions. The Paria Indians are mingled in part with the Chaymas of Cumana; others have been settled by the Capuchins of Aragon in the Missions of Caroni; for instance, at Cupapuy and Alta-Gracia, where they still speak their own language, apparently a dialect between the Tamanac and the Caribbee. But it may be asked, is the name Parias or Pariagotos, a name merely geographical? Did the Spaniards, who frequented these coasts from their first establishment in the island of Cubagua and in Macarapana, give the name of the promontory of Paria* to the tribe by which it was inhabited? (* Paria, Uraparia, even Huriaparia and Payra, are the ancient names of the country, written as the first navigators thought they heard them pronounced. It appears to me by no means probable, that the promontory of Paria should derive its name from that of a cacique Uriapari, celebrated for the manner in which he resisted Diego Ordaz in 1530, thirty-two years after Columbus had heard the name of Paria from the mouths of the natives themselves. The Orinoco at its mouth had also the name of Uriapari, Yuyapari, or Iyupari. In all these denominations of a great river, of a shore, and of a rainy country, I think I recognise the radical par, signifying water, not only in the languages of these countries, but also in those of nations very distant from one another on the eastern and western coasts of America. The sea, or great water, is in the Caribbean, Maypure, and Brazilian languages, parana: in the Tamanac, parava. In Upper Guiana also the Orinoco is called Parava. In the Peruvian, or Quichua, I find rain, para; to rain, parani. Besides, there is a lake in Peru that has been very anciently called Paria. (Garcia, Origen de los Indios, page 292.) I have entered into these minute details concerning the word Paria, because it has recently been supposed that some connection might be traced between this word and the country of the Hindoo caste called the Parias.) This we will not positively affirm; for the Caribbees themselves give the name of Caribana to a country which they occupied, and which extended from the Rio Sinu to the gulf of Darien. This is a striking example of identity of name between an American nation and the territory it possessed. We may conceive, that in a state of society, where residence is not long fixed, such instances must be very rare.

2. The Guaraons or Gu-ara-una, almost all free and independent, are dispersed in the Delta of the Orinoco, with the variously ramified channels of which they alone are well acquainted. The Caribbees call the Guaraons U-ara-u. They owe their independence to the nature of their country; for the missionaries, in spite of their zeal, have not been tempted to follow them to the tree-tops. The Guaraons, in order to raise their abodes above the surface of the waters at the period of the great inundations, support them on the hewn trunks of the mangrove-tree and of the Mauritia palm-tree.* (* Their manners have been the same from time immemorial. Cardinal Bembo described them at the beginning of the 16th century, "quibusdam in locis propter paludes incolae domus in arboribus aedificant." (Hist. Venet. 1551.) Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1595, speaks of the Guaraons under the names of Araottes, Trivitivas, and Warawites. These were perhaps the names of some tribes, into which the great Guaraonese nation was divided. (Barrere Essai sur l'Hist. Naturelle de la France Equinoctiale.)) They make bread of the medullary flour of this palm-tree, which is the sago of America. The flour bears the name of yuruma: I have eaten it at the town of St. Thomas, in Guiana, and it was very agreeable to the taste, resembling rather the cassava-bread than the sago of India.* (* M. Kunth has combined together three genera of the palms, Calamus, Sigus, and Mauritia, in a new section, the Calameae.) The Indians assured me that the trunks of the Mauritia, the tree of life so much vaunted by father Gumilla, do not yield meal in any abundance, unless the palm-tree is cut down just before the flowers appear. Thus too the maguey,* (* Agave Americana, the aloe of our gardens.) cultivated in New Spain, furnishes a saccharine liquor, the wine (pulque) of the Mexicans, only at the period when the plant shoots forth its long stem. By interrupting the blossoming, nature is obliged to carry elsewhere the saccharine or amylaceous matter, which would accumulate in the flowers of the maguey and in the fruit of the Mauritia. Some families of Guaraons, associated with the Chaymas, live far from their native land, in the Missions of the plains or llanos of Cumana; for instance, at Santa Rosa de Ocopi. Five or six hundred of them voluntarily quitted their marshes, a few years ago, and formed, on the northern and southern banks of the Orinoco, twenty-five leagues distant from Cape Barima, two considerable villages, under the names of Zacupana and Imataca. When I made my journey in Caripe, these Indians were still without missionaries, and lived in complete independence. Their excellent qualities as boatmen, their perfect knowledge of the mouths of the Orinoco, and of the labyrinth of branches communicating with each other, give the Guaraons a certain political importance. They favour that clandestine commerce of which the island of Trinidad is the centre. The Guaraons run with extreme address on muddy lands, where the European, the Negro, or other Indians except themselves, would not dare to walk; and it is, therefore, commonly believed, that they are of lighter weight than the rest of the natives. This is also the opinion that is held in Asia of the Burat Tartars. The few Guaraons whom I saw were of middle size, squat, and very muscular. The lightness with which they walk in places newly dried, without sinking in, when even they have no planks tied to their feet, seemed to me the effect of long habit. Though I sailed a considerable time on the Orinoco, I never went so low as its mouth. Future travellers, who may visit those marshy regions, will rectify what I have advanced.

3. The Guaiqueries or Guaikeri, are the most able and most intrepid fishermen of these countries. These people alone are well acquainted with the bank abounding with fish, which surrounds the islands of Coche, Margareta, Sola, and Testigos; a bank of more than four hundred square leagues, extending east and west from Maniquarez to the Boca del Draco. The Guaiqueries inhabit the island of Margareta, the peninsula of Araya, and that suburb of Cumana which bears their name. Their language is believed to be a dialect of that of the Guaraons. This would connect them with the great family of the Caribbee nations; and the missionary Gili is of


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