Igneri
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The Igneri were an indigenous
Arawak The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The te ...

Arawak
people of the southern
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some ...
. Historically, it was believed that the Igneri were conquered and displaced by the
Island Caribs The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic group ...
in an invasion some time before European contact. However, linguistic and archaeological studies in the 20th century have led scholars to more nuanced theories as to the fate of the Igneri. The Igneri spoke an
Arawakan Arawakan (''Arahuacan, Maipuran Arawakan, "mainstream" Arawakan, Arawakan proper''), also known as Maipurean (also ''Maipuran, Maipureano, Maipúre''), is a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a struct ...
language, Iñeri, which transitioned into the
Island Carib language The Kalinago language, also known as Igneri (Iñeri, Inyeri, etc.), was an Arawakan language historically spoken by the Kalinago of the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; ...
.


History

The
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some ...
was populated in various waves, several of which produced varying and often successive
archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specific period and region that may constitute the material culture remains of a particular p ...
s. It is not clear which sites and cultures may be related to the Igneri. Archaeologist Irving Rouse associated them with the Suazoid culture, which emerged around AD 1000 in the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
as a continuation of the earlier Saladoid culture. Suazoid culture lasted until around 1450, which may reflect the transition from Igneri to Island Carib culture in the islands.


Island Carib connections

The Igneri are known from the traditions of the
Island Caribs The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic group ...
, who lived in the Lesser Antilles at the time of European contact. According to these traditions, the Igneri were the original inhabitants of the islands, while the Caribs were invaders originating in South America (home to the mainland Caribs or Kalina). By these accounts, the Caribs conquered and displaced the Igneri. As this tradition was widespread and internally consistent, it was accepted as historical by Europeans. An invasion would explain cultural differences between the Island Caribs and their Arawak neighbors in the Greater Antilles, the Taíno, as well as some peculiarities of Carib culture, in particular the fact that male and female Caribs were noted as speaking different languages from at least the 17th century. This was explained as an effect of the invasion: according to this interpretation, incoming Carib men took captured Arawak women as wives, and thus the women spoke an Arawakan tongue while the men presumably spoke Carib. However, linguistic analysis in the 20th century determined that the main
Island Carib language The Kalinago language, also known as Igneri (Iñeri, Inyeri, etc.), was an Arawakan language historically spoken by the Kalinago of the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; ...
was spoken by both sexes, and was Arawakan, not Cariban. As such, scholars have adopted more nuanced theories to explain the transition from Igneri to Island Carib in the Antilles. Irving Rouse proposed that a relatively small scale Carib force conquered but did not displace the Igneri, and the invaders eventually took on the Igneri language while still maintaining their identity as Caribs. Other scholars such as Sued Badillo doubt there was an invasion at all, proposing that the Igneri adopted the "Carib" identity over time due to their close economic and political relations with the rising mainland Carib polity. Both theories accept that the historical Island Carib language developed from the existing tongue of the islands, and thus it is also known as Igneri. The idea that Island Carib men and women spoke different languages arises from the fact that by at least the early 17th century, Carib men spoke a Cariban-based pidgin language in addition to the usual Arawakan language used by both sexes. This was similar to pidgins used by mainland Caribs when communicating with their Arawak neighbors. Berend J. Hoff and Douglas Taylor hypothesized that it dated to the time of the Carib expansion through the islands, and that males maintained it to emphasize their origins on the mainland. Alternately, if there was no Carib invasion, the pidgin may have been a later development acquired through mainland contacts.


References


Further reading

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Igneri Igneri, Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean Cultural history of Puerto Rico History of Trinidad and Tobago Circum-Caribbean tribes