Amerindian (Caribs and Arawaks) people existed in Trinidad for as long as 6,000 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and numbered at least 40,000 at the time of Spanish settlement in 1592. The Amerindians also gave Trinidad and Tobago its first major rebellion: the Arena Uprising of 1699, led by Chief Hyarima. Hyarima’s military prowess and relentless determination to rid his country of Spanish colonists made for an able leader and a great warrior. Unfortunately, the Amerindians could not survive the disease, warfare, murder, forced labor and rape brought on by the Spanish. It would lead to their near extermination. Today, few full-blooded descendants remain.