The Ciboney were pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The name Ciboney derives from the Taíno language, in which it means "cave dwellers"; evidence has shown that a number of the Ciboney people lived in caves at some time.
Over the years, many theories have been brought forth as to how the Ciboney people arrived to the Caribbean. Many of these theories have a weak foundation due to insufficient evidence. It is explained in the book Liberties Lost: Caribbean Indigenous Societies and Slave Systems (2004), "The most popular view now is that the Ciboney were from pre-farming cultures that entered the Antilles from South America, not as one ethnic group, but as waves of different migrants over a very long period of time." Study of genetic specimens seems to support this South American origin, and possibly Central American, as well.
When the Europeans arrived, the Ciboney had already been driven by their powerful Taíno neighbors to western Hispaniola (Haiti) and western Cuba. The Ciboney of Cuba and Hispaniola were culturally different from each other; those of Cuba went by the name Guanajatabey. Within a century after European contact, the Ciboney were extinct.
The Ciboney languages are unattested apart from a single word of Guanajatabey.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Online, Ciboney. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 03, 2010.
- Excerpt (pdf)[dead link], Beckles, Hilary McD., and Shepherd, Verene A. "The Indigenous Caribbean People." Liberties Lost: The Indigenous Caribbean and Slave Systems. Cambridge UP, 2004. 5. Print.
- Lalueza-Fox, C.; Gilbert, M.T.P.; Martinez-Fuentes, A.J.; Calafell, F.; Bertranpetit, J. (June 2003). "Mitochondrial DNA from pre-Columbian Ciboneys from Cuba and the prehistoric colonization of the Caribbean". American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Wiley-Liss, Inc.) 121 (2): 97(12). doi:10.1002/ajpa.10236. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 3, p. 313: "Ciboney" and p. 773: "Cuba (History)". Chicago, 1989.
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