Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, most of the Caribbean had three types or groups of inhabitants. The Ciboney or Guanahuatebey, the Taino or Arawak, and the Caribs. The cultural distinctions among the three groups are not much. The single differentiating factor appears to be their respective dates of arrival in the region.
The Ciboney People seem to have arrived first and settled in parts of Cuba and the Bahamas. They also seem to have had the most elementary forms of social organization. The most numerous groups were the Arawaks, who resided in most of the Greater Antilles--Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (presently, Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico.
The smaller eastern island chain was the home of the Caribs, a tropical forest group related to most of the indigenous Indians found in Central and South America. A few of the smaller islands were not permanently inhabited, including Barbados.
The story of Christopher Columbus discovering Antigua and the Caribbean islands in 1492 is not accurate. Amerindian settlements in Antigua date back to at least 2400 BC. In South America, a total of 34 language families and over a dozen isolated stocks combining about 1000 individual languages were discovered and identified.
Learn more about the first peoples of the Caribbean before Christopher Columbus arrived in the region