Wadadli Amerindian family. _


If you had been a visitor to our islands not long before Columbus you would have travelled by canoe. The village elder would have sent a host to greet you. On arriving at the large central house (carbet) of the village you would have been provided with a seat and tobacco, or a bed if you were old. To show great friendship, you would have exchanged names with your hosts. If you were special, you would have been given a feast at which all would have made merry with much cassava wine.

If unfolded cassava bread was given you , it would have meant you could have taken the leftovers along with you when you left! You would have eaten in silence without drinking. Only one man spoke at a time, whilst listeners hummed if they had approved of his words.Visitors were provided with special hammocks (hamaca) and a woman would have been given to paint your body with a natural paint (roucou) and dress your hair in the morning.


Father Breton was a missionary sent out from France to Guadeloupe about 1628 and later to Dominica in an attempt to convert the Island Caribs into Christians. He was unlucky in this task, but we are fortunate, as he wrote a Carib/French dictionary thus enabling future missionaries to carry on his work. This book, available for inspection in the museum, is absolutely invaluable to those that study the prehistory of our islands. It records the lifestyle of the last prehistoric people of the Lesser Antilles.

Here is the book from which we learn that the Islands Amerindian name was OUALADLI and Barbuda's OUA'OMONI
(French orthography). Some of Breton's entries are very picturesque, take for instance the Amerindian for little red ants. Haiuachel. These ants are the smallest but the most troublesome and are found everywhere, in rooms, in chests, in food-safes, in jams, in hay and often enough they penetrate into the most secret places, where they bite so promptly and lively, in whose company you may be, and before you can think, the bite makes you commit an incivility that creates the laughter of those present, but who well know the mystery!

When Columbus was near Redonda on November 11, 1593, he sighted the island theAmerindians called "WALADLI" and named it "Santa Maria la Antigua" after a miracle working Virgin shrine in a chapel of Seville Cathedral, Spain. The Amerindian name of "Waladli" was found in a French missionary's Amerindian dictionary that can now be inspected at the Museum. Since we speak English the spelling has been changed from the French orthography to English, as can be seen in the accompanying illustration.

According to the writings of Ferdinand Columbus, the son of Christopher, the earlier name of Antigua used by the Arawakan speaking people was YARUMAQUI.This word is believed to be derived from "Yaruma", a plant from which canoes and rafts were made and "Qui" an island.

The word WALADLI was later refined toWADADLI which is now recodnized and comonly used by almost all modern antiguan. The name Wadadli was franchised in 1976 by a groupe of local musicians called Wadadli Experience Band, and has since been the legal copyright interlectual property of Wadadli Experience Enterprise 1976 LTD. Antigua and Barbuda first Rastafarian Reggae Band.