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Garifuna Were Warriors and Spoke Several Languages

Updated: Dec 18, 2021


Garinagu settled in Barra del Cangrejal in La Ceiba and contrary to popular belief and opinion, they were proud and had a strong African, European, and Amerindian ancestral culture. According to Brazilian Ruy Galvao de Andrade Coelho: "One of the most extraordinary characteristics of the Black Carib culture was, their unity as a people; unity that was conceived by the combination of elements generated from their African, European, and Amerindian origin. An outsider, non-informed individual about the history of the group would have difficulty in admitting that the current Garifuna culture, so complete, is the product of being a hybrid people which has coexisted with these three different traditions. "

Professor Angel Moya Posas published in, "The First Society from La Ceiba", that the first Garifuna who arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras, were strong and a resilient people more so than what the current ones show. Garinagu were agile, having thick athletic bodies perhaps because they had just come from fighting long wars in their centennial struggles against the French and English; therefore, they were accustomed to facing adversity and resolving their problems successfully (22).

Recent writings confirm the assertions by Professor Angel Moya Posas:

"Secondly, Ceibeños did not know that Garinagu were skilled in the art that later would be known as" guerrilla warfare"; for that reason, Garinagu stayed away from any conflict. Garinagu boasted about their resounding victory over the invading French. As soon as Garinagu returned to firm land from battling the French and as a farewell, the British ordered a discharge of cannon to repel the Black Caribs. To their surprise, Garinagu answered the attack with a barrage of shots with short range rifles, the English captain said, that was a fine combination of shots that I'd ever heard. "

Don Pedro Devaux, Teodoro Castaing, and Joaquin Laffiteau, French businessmen in who had recently arrived in La Ceiba, while at the Olympia Hall, commented that they were perplexed and amazed to find out how Garifuna elderly were speaking perfect French, hiring them to work in their businesses. Moreover, Garinagu again, surprised them due to the fact that they could read and write in French, and computed perfect mathematical operations very quickly.

Vicente Gámez Nolasco reassured that. "Many Garinagu dominated French and English languages ​while on the island of St. Vincent, which facilitated their access to books and other documents in these language. It was a common thing in La Ceiba to enter more than one Garifuna home and find elderly men and women, reading books in English and French "

Recent writings on black Vincentians recount:

"Most of the men spoke fluent French and English in addition to their own language, which they were very proud of" (26). "Everyone can speak French ... and many of them are Catholics" (27)

Another example, "The next day, Braithwaite returned to the island and, on this occasion, was received by the Garifuna Chief in the company of 500 armed men with rifles. To his amazement, no one needed interpreters to communicate since the Garifuna chief and sub-chiefs, spoke excellent French "(28). Once Garinagu established themselves in Trujillo, they easily learned the Spanish language.


Secoff, Mario. Presenta El Libro Electronico. Taken from website:

This article was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on April 12, 2014. This material was translated for the purpose of educating only. It is the property of Mario Secoff Presenta El Libro Electronico. It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.

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