“Arawak: At the time of Columbus, Arawak speakers inhabited the Greater Antilles and parts of mainland South America. Since languages of the Arawakan family are not found in North or Mesoamerica, it is likely that these people reached the islands from the south. In support of this view, pottery of the Saladoid type is found in a great arc from western Venezuela to the West Indies, and in the northern islands there seems to be a ceramic continuity from Saladoid ware to insular Arawak. Spanish sources describe the island Arawaks as settled farmers with an elaborate religion based on a Zemi cult.”
Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.
“Ignacio Manuel Altamirano: (1834-1893) Mexican novelist and poet. A full-blooded Indian, Altamirano was an adherent of Benito Juarez and fought against the French intervention in Mexico. In 1869, he founded Renacimiento, a review to encourage literary activity, almost moribund after fifteen years of turbulence. He became the mentor of the younger generation, to whom he advocated the importance of creating a literature rooted in national life. His poetry consists of a single volume of Rimas (1880), written before 1867 and notable for its description of the Mexican landscape. Altamirano’s preoccupation with purely Mexican themes and customs is also evident in the prose works for which he is best known: Clemencia (1869), a love story set against the background of the French intervention; La navidad en las montanas (1870), a novelette; and El Zarco (1901), a novel dealing with bandits in the state of Morelos.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.