Over 8,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Taino, also known as the Arawaks, set out from the Yucatan and Belize, in Central America. Traveling by canoe, they paddled to Cuba and proceeded to travel to the southeast to the island of Hispaniola. They established settlements in both areas.
There were two other early groups of settlers in the Caribbean, the Ciboney and the Caribs. The three groups each had distinct living arrangements in that the Taino were rainforest dwellers who lived an agricultural life. The Caribs lived off of the reefs and in the forest wetlands. The third group, the Ciboney, was known as the stone people. These later groups also arrived by canoe and spread out through the Caribbean islands after leaving the northernmost areas of South America.