Weavers of the Rio Negro
When the world began, everything in nature was asexual, including the stars. Yamádu, an evil spirit, governed nature with the help of his assistants, long-armed dwarves with flowing hair. The Baré feared them and defended themselves shrewdly, but the dwarves were not as evil as they seemed, and often were more mocking than menacing.


Our knowledge of the Baré is limited because a violent history of conquest  all but erased their culture. The natural abundance of rubber in their region was exploited by ruthless traders who arrived in the first half of the twentieth century.

Hyla crepitans, a common frog from the forest perched on the flower of a Heliconia rostrata.
After a long process of colonization and acculturation, few still speak the Baré language, which belongs to the Arawak family. It is therefore unclear whether, as some scholars think, the word Baré means companion or colleague; or if, as others maintain, it is derived from the word “bari,” which means “white men.”
Spilotes pullatus, a non poisonus snake that swells to intimidate.
For over a century after Venezuelan independence, political administration in the Río Negro region existed only as a formality. In practice, local political bosses, or caudillos, took charge, using their power to profit from the rubber trade.


Disputes over their land, beginning with the Spanish and Portuguese empires, engendered a long history of migration and conflict.

The Negro River, the Amazon's main tributary, begins at the border between Venezuela and Colombia. It is the greatest dark-water river in the world.
The Baré have seen their territory diminished as a result of exploitation: once they occupied land from Manaos, along the Río Negro and the Brazo Casiquiare, up to the Pacimoni River.
Zygosepalum tatei, an orchid named after the explorer G.H.H.Tatewho led important expeditions to the summits of the tepuis Duida, Roraima and Auyantepui.
Today, the remaining Baré are dispersed along the Casiquiare region, with small concentrations in Puerto Ayacucho, San Fernando de Atabapo, Solano, San Carlos de Río Negro, Santa Rosa de Amanadon, and Santa Lucía.

Ritual and Tradition

Only a few artifacts of the  Baré culture have been preserved.

This robust basket made of mamure fibers is another example of the beautiful Baré basketmaking.
Little is now known about the traditional economic, social, and political life of the Baré. Most likely, they lived like other related groups of the Río Negro region – farming conucos with the slash-and-burn method; practicing hunting, gathering, and fishing; and crafting the tools and objects they used.


Large game was not plentiful in the territory occupied by the Baré, but they farmed, hunted smaller game, and fished.

Men fished using many different methods: barbasco, harpoons, lances, arrows, hooks, traps, and nets. In the absence of large mammals, they also sometimes hunted small game such as dantas, picures, and lapas,  and birds such as turkeys, curassows, and woodcocks. They used blowpipes, and bows and arrows, and later, firearms introduced by Europeans.


The Baré wove textiles, and made baskets and pottery, and carved boats and paddles out of wood.

The Baré made textiles other than loincloths, with a variety of fibers. Among the crafts they produced, woven hammocks were of primary importance. They were made with cumare, curagua, and moriche fibers, dried in the sun, and then dyed red, purple, and yellow. The Baré also produced the cords they used for fishing, using chiquichique fiber.