Cumanagoto people

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Regions with significant populations
Cumanagoto, Spanish
Related ethnic groups
Carib, Afro-Caribbeans

The Cumanagoto people are a group of Native Americans in South America. They belong to the Carib family. Their territory extended originally over the ancient province of Nueva Andalucía (Cumaná and Barcelona) in eastern Venezuela, and their descendants live now in the north of Anzoátegui State, Venezuela.[1]

The Cumanagotos were Amerindians of northeastern Venezuela at the time of the Spanish conquest. Since the 17th century they have not existed as a tribal or cultural unit. The Cumanagoto spoke a Cariban language, related to that of the Palenque. They were agricultural, growing corn (maize), manioc, sweet potatoes, and other native crops, as well as coca trees. Wild foods were also gathered, and hunting was important. Domesticated animals were uncommon, except for turkeys. Their villages often had wooden palisades for defense. Dress was minimal, consisting of a small genital covering and decorative ornaments of feathers, pearls, gold, shell, clay beads, coral beads, bones, teeth, or flowers. Polygyny was practiced by chiefs, whose wives lived together in a kind of harem. Religion centered on worship of the sun and moon.[2] The Cumanagotos also valued frogs, as they saw the animal to be the god of waters. Therefore they did not kill frogs, instead choosing to keep them as pets, but whipping them in the case of an extended winter or little rainfall. [3]

The short-lived Province of New Catalonia (1633-1654), founded by Joan Orpí, was also known as the Province of the Cumanagotos. It was absorbed into New Andalusia Province in 1654.

The name of the city of Cagua in Aragua State is said to derive from the Cumanagoto word for snail, Cahigua.


  1. ^ Cumanagoto in the DRAE (Diccionario de la Lengua Española)
  2. ^ Cumanagoto in Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ "Full text of "Obras escogidas de Aristides Rojas"". Retrieved 2017-04-05.

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