The history of the first settlers in our region, the Amerindians, is well known. The peaceful Arawaks and the war-like Caribs were the two tribes to inhabit the Lesser Antilles, those islands ranging from St. Kitts and Nevis in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south.
What we know about these people comes from the written records of the Europeans and the archaeological remains of Amerindian settlements; however, these sources aren’t always aligned. While the written documents give us details of events, names and other such occurrences, there tends to be a bias towards seeing these people as savages. The physical evidence is less partial about the Amerindian lifestyle, with archaeological evidence telling the story of what they ate, where they lived, burial methods, tools and other man-made materials used.
It is believed the Awaraks named Saint Lucia Ioüanalao, meaning ‘Land of the Iguanas’, probably because of the large number of iguanas found on the island. The Caribs are said to have named the island Hewanarau, which later became Hewanorra, and is now the name of Saint Lucia’s international airport.