Bonaire, History, Salt Trade, Seafarers and Salt Rakers, The Arawaks and the Salt, Part One, 700 C.E.

Grammar of Tariana, from northwest Amazonia.

Tariana iwi: Proto-Arawak “IDNVI”, Salt.

“The Wapisianas are fond of Salt and often eat it alone. One our journey, when we could get no food the Indians would put Salt in water and drink it. In former times they used to evaporate their own salt. After December rains, the water which has formed shallow pools about the foot of Mount Seriri evaporates, leaving a thin coat of salt on the dark bottom. This is carefully gathered in baskets. Water is then poured through it and the whole evaporated over fire.”

SRC: The Central Arawaks, 2009. By William Curtis Farabee.

…Saint Martin (Sint Marteen), once the home of Arawak Indians from South America, this island was first called “Sualouiga” or “Land of Salt”.

“Sears and Sullivan suspect that Antillan Arawaks first come to Caicos (Southern Bahamas) to gather Salt and Shellfish. Salt was easily gathered and used for trade. Shellfish may have been exported from the Caicos to Hispaniola but were used for food. To demonstrate the relative ease of Salt-gathering, Shaun Sullivan conducted an experiment at Armstrong Pond, Middle Caicos, in July, 1977. In fifteen minutes, using conch shells as scoopers, sixteen people collected enough salt to fill 120 gallon containers and projected that in six-hour day this crew could have gathered 139 bushels of salt.”

SRC: Homeward Bound: A History of the Bahama Islands to 1850, 2000. By Sandra Riley and Thelma Peters.

©2012 Olivier Douvry/GlobeDivers

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