Language Origins and Influences
The Arawak and Carib peoples did not survive long after the Spanish arrived and neither did their languages. However, some of their words did survive. For example, the Spanish were not familiar with such things as tobacco, cassava, or guava, and had no Spanish word for them. So they used Arawak and Carib words, adopting them into Spanish. In the same way, the English absorbed many words (tobacco, cashew, hammock) from Amerindian sources.
From the 17th century to the 19th century, many European languages influenced the Caribbean: first Spanish, then English, French and Dutch, depending on which island was being colonised and by whom. Every time one coloniser would fight and seize control of a colony from another, it would try to erase any trace of the other's language and promptly install its own. As a result, countries show a variety of influences depending on their colonial history. Take Dominica, for example, which changed hands 12 times between Spain, France and Britain. It eventually became a British colony but even today the French influence on the country and language remains strong.
*All part of the Netherlands Antilles
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