Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Wednesday, June 11, 2014



Cannibalism, Brazil. Engraving by Theodor de Bry for Hans Staden's account of his 1557 captivity.

Cannibalism (from Caníbales, the Spanish name for the Caribs, a West Indies tribe formerly well known for practicing cannibalism) is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh or internal organs of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy. A person who practices cannibalism is called a cannibal. The expression "cannibalism" has been extended into zoology to mean one individual of a species consuming all or part of another individual of the same species as food, including sexual cannibalism.

The Island Carib people of the Lesser Antilles, from whom the word cannibalism derives, acquired a long-standing reputation as cannibals following the recording of their legends in the 17th century. Some controversy exists over the accuracy of these legends and the prevalence of actual cannibalism in the culture. Cannibalism was widespread in the past among humans in many parts of the world, continuing into the 19th century in some isolated South Pacific cultures, and to the present day in parts of tropical Africa. In a few cases in insular Melanesia, indigenous flesh-markets existed. Fiji was once known as the 'Cannibal Isles'. Cannibalism has been well documented around the world, from Fiji to the Amazon Basin to the Congo to Māori New Zealand. Neanderthals are believed to have practiced cannibalism, and Neanderthals may have been eaten by anatomically modern humans.

Cannibalism has recently been both practiced and fiercely condemned in several wars, especially in Liberia and Congo. As of 2006, the Korowai were one of very few tribes still believed to eat human flesh as a cultural practice. It is also still known to be practiced as a ritual and in war in various Melanesian tribes. Historically, allegations of cannibalism were used by the colonial powers as a tool of empire to justify the subjugation of what were seen as primitive peoples. Cannibalism has been said to test the bounds of cultural relativism as it challenges anthropologists "to define what is or is not beyond the pale of acceptable human behavior".

Cannibalism has been occasionally practiced as a last resort by people suffering from famine, including in modern times. A famous example is the ill-fated Westward expedition of the Donner Party, and more recently the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, after which some survivors ate the bodies of dead passengers. Also, some mentally ill people obsess about eating others and actually do so, such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish. There is resistance to formally labeling cannibalism as a mental disorder.

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