Disease, Not Guns,
Defeated the Caribs

If European diseases hadn't decimated the Caribs, the Caribbean would be a very different place today.

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Like the Arawaks and Indians in the U.S., the Caribs were easy victims to European diseases against which they had no natural resistance.

By 1686, the Carib population of Dominica had dropped from 5,000 to 400—yet they still managed to survive and remain free as a race when traces of the Caribs elsewhere vanished.

When the British drove the French out of Dominica in 1783, they gave the Caribs, who had stayed out of the conflict and been living quietly on the island's northeast shore, were given 232 acres of land as a “reserve.”

The territory was increased to 3,700 acres in 1903. The land didn't become the actual property of the Caribs until 1978, a condition imposed by the British for granting Dominica its independence.

Like many U.S. Indian reservations, the Reserve enjoys a largely tax-exempt status, but without a single bingo hall or casino.

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