The Garifuna people are the only inhabitants of Cayos Cochinos Archipelago. They are originally from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the east side of the Caribbean sea and they are descendants of an unique and very fascinating mixed-race combination of Amerindian Arawak, Carib from Kalinago and African people. Their first ancestors, the Amerindian Arawak and the Carib migrated from South America and settle down on St. Vincent way before the Europeans arrived, probably around the 1200. Later on in 1635 two Spanish ships carrying hundreds of Nigerians shipwrecked nearby, the surving slaves found help and hospitality on the island among the Carib-Arawak population adding the last contribution to the Garifuna ethnicity. Since then they lived peacefully until the early 1700s when French showed interest in the islands, starting a war that the Garifuna who fought bravely for their freedom and independence forcing the French to forging an alliance that lasted for decades. Unlikely when the British took over the French interests in the area they were not interested in a peaceful cooperation with the Garifuna giving start to the 1st Carib war in 1776 that lasted 7 years until 1783 when the British were beaten and forced to sign a peace treaty. British broke the treaty 22 years later starting the 2nd Carib war, this time with more soldiers, army and better organized were able to defeat the Garifuna that very hardly finally surrendered in 1796. Many Garifuna were captured and exiled to a closer island where many of them died of malnutrition and disease. A year later the approximately 2000 surviving Garifunas were sent by ship to Roatán. Nowadays over 800,000 are the descendants of the original Garifuna ethnic group. Some of them still live in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines but other communities are in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Belize and a large group have moved to the United States. Garifuna people are very proud of their origins and history, they have kept their language, costumes and cultural traditions.
In 2001, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared the Garifuna culture a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”, same for the Cayos Cochinos Archipelago declared a World Heritage Site later in 2015