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ARAWAK ("meal-eaters," in reference to cassava, their staple food), a tribe of South American Indians of Dutch and British Guiana. The Arawaks have given their name to a linguistic stock of South America, the Arawakan, which includes many once powerful tribes. The Arawakans were once numerous, their tribes stretching from southern Brazil and Bolivia to Central America, occupying the whole of the West Indies and having settlements on the Florida seaboard. They were found by the Spaniards in Haiti and possibly in the Bahamas, but the Caribs had expelled them from most of the islands. The Arawaks proper were physically an undersized, weakly people, peaceable agriculturists, by far the most civilized of all Guiana peoples, being skilful weavers and workers in stone and gold. The chief tribes which may be called Arawakan are the Anti, Arawak, Barre, Goajiro, Guana, Manaos, Maneteneri, Maipuri, Maranho, Moxo, Passé, Piro and Taruma.

See Everard F. im Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana (London, 1883).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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