Garifuna, Black Carib, Garinagu is an ethnic of predominantly African and Carib ancestry, taken from the island of St. Vincent, and brought along the coast of Central America--Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize. The population of Garifunas are estimated to be 500,000. There are about 50 Garifuna communities. Honduras has the largest concentration. 49,952 exist in Honduras and can be found in cities San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and La Ceiba.


In 1635, Carib Indians--Kalipuna raided St. Vincent defeating the Taino Indians and taking Taino wives. Africans became a part of the Garifuna population via shipwrecks and raids of European settlements. St. Vincent was the last stronghold of the native population. They co-existed with European settlements around the 1790s, when the English took complete control of the island. Caribs were divided into Red, Yellow, and Black Caribs. The English considered the Yellow and Red Caribs true native Caribs. They lobbied for the removal of the Black Caribs on the basis they were not true Caribs. 4,338 Garifuna were deported from the island in 1796 to the coast of Central America. They were dropped in Baliseau, Honduras. In 1797, they were transferred to the island of Roatan. Lack of water, disease, and food caused numerous death. Only 2,026 survived. The Spanish thought the English was invading. Seeing the island was inhabited by Black Caribs, the Spanish negotiated peacefully and transferred the group to Trujillo, Honduras.


The Garifuna language is classed as an Amerindian tongue, Arawakan. The language also has African, Spanish, French, and English words. Garufuna music includes the punta, parranda music and dance. The wanaragua is a Christmas dance expressing Garifuna resistance to colonization. Indian cultural influences can be seen in the cassava bread made by the Garifuna. African cultural influences can be seen in the plantain and coconut palm dishes.

Modern Status

Garifunas tend to move around looking for employment. They typically hold jobs as English/Spanish translators and ship-hands. Many reside in the USA, sending remittance back home. This has made Garifuna household matrifocal. In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Garifuna culture, "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity."

Related Article: Afro-Honduran, Afro-Guatemalan, Afro-Nicaraguan, Freedmen, Zambo

Works Cited

Anderson, Mark(2009). Black and Indigenous:Garifuna Activism and Consumer Culture In Honduras.U of Minnesota Press, pp. 3,23,24. ISBN 0816661022, 9780816661022

Austin, Peter and Simpson, Andrew. Endangered Languages. Buske Verkag,  p. 113, ISBN 3875484657, 9783875484656

Zanger, Mark(2001). The American Ethnic Cookbook for Students. ABC-CLIO, p. 139, ISBN 1573563455, 9781573563451

External Link

Tags: black indians amerindian native