Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

The principal of a small group of tribes constituting a distinct linguistic stock (the Salivan), centring in the eighteenth century, about and below the junction of the Meta and Orinoco, in Venezuela, but believed to have come from farther up the Orinoco, about the confluence of the Guaviare in Columbian territory. They were of kindly and sociable disposition, and especially given to music, but followed the common barbarous practice of killing the aged and feeble. They disinterred the bones of the dead after a year, burned them, and mixed the ashes with their drinking water. In their ceremonies they blew upon the batuto , or great clay trumpet common to the tribes of the region. A grammar of their language was composed by the Jesuit Father Anisson. In 1669 the Jesuit Fathers Monteverde and Castan established the first mission in the tribe, under the name of Nuestra Señora de los Salibas, but both dying within a year the Indians again dispersed to the forest. In 1671 other Jesuit missions were established in the same general region, at Carichana, Sinameo and San Lorenzo, together with a small garrison of twelve soldiers at the first-named station, but were all destroyed by two successive invasions of the savage Carib from below in 1684 and 1693. In these two attacks four priests lost their lives, together with the captain of the garrison, his two sons, and others. Forty years later the missions were restored, the principal one, of the Saliva, being established in 1734 at Carichana on the Orinoco, just below the junction of the Meta. Its founder was Father Manuel Roman, superior of the Jesuit missions of the Orinoco, and discoverer of the Casiquiare connexion with the Amazon. The tribe numbered at that time about 4000 souls, only a small part resided at the mission. It was visited and described by Humboldt in 1800. Another Saliva mission, San Miguel de Macuco, on the Meta, had at one time 900 souls. On the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767-68 the Orinoco missions were placed in charge of Franciscan fathers, but fell into decline. The revolutionary war and the withdrawal of help from the Spanish Government completed their ruin. The mission property was seized, the Indians scattered, and the tribe is now virtually extinct.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2016 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his ... Read More