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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

V.D.3 - The Caribbean, Including Northern South America and Lowland Central America: Early History

from V.D - The History and Culture of Food and Drink in the Americas
Summary
The study of prehistoric diet and nutrition in the Caribbean is a relatively recent phenomenon. Lucayan diet can be described as consisting of inputs from five general sources: cultivated roots and tubers, maize, terrestrial animals, marine fishes, and marine mollusks. This chapter describes three diets which are proposed on the basis of data gathered from ethnographic analogy, ethnohistoric reports, ethnobiological analyses, and formal economic models. The carbon isotopes confirm the presence of three distinct diets. One explanation for these differences is that they represent changes in diet breadth through time. The arrival of the Spanish brought dramatic changes to the circum-Caribbean. The Garifuna, often referred to as Black Caribs, presently occupy the coast of Central America from Belize to Nicaragua. The best-known item in the Island Carib diet is human flesh. Caribbean diets were strongly influenced by the diffusion of domesticated plants and animals.
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The Cambridge World History of Food
  • Online ISBN: 9781139058643
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521402156
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