Friday, November 18, 2011

Ngobes with English last names

The peninsula where I live is full of English and Scottish last names: Beker, Williams, Record, Archibald, Trotman, to name a few. So why is that? I´ve got a few theories I´ve put together from conversation and nonfiction.

What most of my community points out is that during World War I many American soldiers got don´t fully believe it). These soldiers got together with Ngobe women, left the children and last name behind, and went on their way. My host dad, Julian Record, had a grandfather named Charlie Smith who had that exact thing happen. He was a white, blue eyed Ngobe who spoke only Ngabere. Julian´s mother who is still alive supposedly has blue eyes but I have yet to meet her.

My constructed theory is this. Many British and Scottish slave owners had slaves working in Haiti on cotton plantations. But when taxes were increased they abandoned Haiti and came to Bocas with their slaves. As the United Fruit company developed (probably beginning with many smaller companies) they originally came to the Peninsula Valiente, told the locals to plant bananas and they´d be back to buy them before they moved production to Changinola. Ngobes originally used their birthplace as their last name. I´m Sili Cruomu, Sili from Cruomoi (which means balsa). The banana owners asked the Ngobes their last name, didn´t understand, and so through these English/Scottish names on them, and history was wrote.

The third influence is the church. We´ve got Methodist, Church of the Apostles, Jehovah’s Witness, and a number of evangelical sects. I think this could have influenced their last names as well.


  1. The Ngobe Bugle are one of the seven tribes of indigenous peoples in Panama. As is the case for many indigenous peoples in various parts of the world, life here is very difficult.

  2. I believe girls baby names are cutest. In britain you can have amazing names. Indeed an informative article. I love baby names. You know what i even visit baby names sites and suggest names to my friends and family.

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