THE FATE OF OTHER AMERINDIAN GROUPS
In addition to the nine existing Guyanese Amerindian tribes, other groups also lived in Guyana, but over time have either been absorbed into other tribes or have altogether disappeared. In 1843, Robert Schomburgk, who surveyed the boundaries of Guyana, listed thirteen tribes in a paper he presented to the Royal Geographical Society of London. These were the "Arawaks, Warraus, Caribs, Accawais, Macusis, Arecunas, Wapisianas, Atorais or Atorias, Tarumas, Woyavais (Wai-Wais), Maopityans, Pianoghottos, and Drios."
In other reports he wrote about encountering small groups of Amaripas, Daurais, Maiongkongs and Borokotos near the borders with Brazil and Suriname. He pointed to the fact that since 1840 large numbers of Amerindians died from smallpox, and was dismayed at the drastic reduction in the populations in southern Guyana in the four years since 1837 when he had first visited the region.
Earlier, in 1823, William Hillhouse, an "ex-Quartermaster-General of Indians", who lived among the Amerindians and was himself married to an Amerindian, mentioned one other tribe - the Attamacka - as living in Guyanese territory.
But even before the time of Hillhouse and Schomburgk, the early Dutch settlers of Essequibo in the late seventeenth century, and throughout the eighteenth century as well, reported having contacts with Magariouts, Parcays and Pariacotts in the upper Cuyuni River area.
As far back as 1596, Amerindians described as Eaos, who lived in the Moruka area, were evicted by the Arawaks with the assistance of the Spanish who had settled in the Orinoco region of what is now Venezuela. A smaller group, the Shebayos, who also lived in the Moruka area, also disappeared, but it is believed that they were assimilated into the Arawak tribe.
The Paravianas, somewhat related to the Caribs, at one time lived in the upper Demerara River and the middle Essequibo River areas. They were driven out by the Caribs who continually attacked them; and even when they resettled in the upper Essequibo, they were again expelled by further Carib raids. They eventually found themselves in the Takutu area near the then unmarked border with Brazil. There they were rounded up by the Portuguese and forcibly moved to mission settlements in the Amazon. The Dutch, to whom they were loyal, never came to their assistance. A few Paravianas who managed to escape eventually were protected by the Wapisianas in the Rupununi. The last full-blooded member of that disappeared tribe died in the Rupununi in 1914.
The Tarumas, who were mentioned by Schomburgk, probably escaped into the Acarai Mountain region of Guyana from the Rio Negro sometime between 1715 and 1721 during a period of forced removal of Amerindians by the Portuguese authorities. The Tarumas, who lived near the Kassikaityu and Kuyuwini Rivers, became well-known for their apron belts, cassava graters and their trained hunting dogs which they traded to other tribes.
In 1851 Rev. W.H. Brett wrote in Indian Missions in Guiana: "The Tarumas formerly lived near the mouth of the Rio Negro. The Carmelites had a mission among them as early as 1670. Disagreeing with other tribes, and being ill-used by the Portuguese, a portion of them fled northward, and settled near the headwaters of the Essequibo. Death made such ravages among those who remained that the tribe was considered extinct. Mahanarva, the well-known Carib chief, in 1810 brought the first information of their existence to Georgetown, but his account was so exaggerated that they were described as amphibious, and taking shelter in caverns under water. They are about four hundred in number, and their language differs from that of other Indians of Guiana."
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the twentieth century, no member of the tribe survived an influenza epidemic. This epidemic was apparently so severe that the Kassikaityu River, where the Tarumas once lived, is still referred to by the Wai-Wais as "The River of the Dead."
In 1868 Rev. W. H. Brett, wrote in The Indian Tribes of Guiana: "The Atorais are now nearly extinct. Including a sister tribe, the Tauris or Dauris, who formerly dwelt apart in the forests, but are not united with them, the Atorais probably do not exceed one hundred persons."
Earlier, Richard Schomburgk reported in his Travels in British Guiana 1840-1844 that in 1841 the Schomburgk boundary survey expedition, during a stop-over at a Wapisiana village, met Miaha, an old Amaripa woman "about 60 years of age", who was "the last of her race".
Richard Schomburgk at that time also reported the "total number of still living Maopityans amounted to 39" and that they were living together "with some 20 Tarumas from whom they had chosen their chief".
The Portuguese drive in Brazilian territory to "re-settle" Amerindian tribes, forced other groups such as Maopityans, Atorais, Daurais, Drios, Pianoghottos and Amaripas to escape to southern Guyana. It is possible that some of these groups eventually moved back to Brazil, while others came under the protection of the Macushis and Wapisiansas with whom they inter-married.