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Tainos that met Columbus

Taíno is the collective designation of some Arawakan tribes who, at the time of the arrival of Europeans in America, inhabited Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas and some of the northern Lesser Antilles.

The Indians actively used cotton, hemp and palm for the manufacture of ropes and fishing nets. The canoes created by the Taino could carry up to 150 people swiftly and quietly. It is also known that the Indians actively used bows and arrows (sometimes with different poisons), as well as special fighting clubs – “macana”. The Tainos were original, friendly and peaceful islanders, and, having seen the white sails of the Spanish caravels on the horizon, they had no idea what a threat was approaching the entire civilization of the American indigenous peoples.

Greedy and cruel European conquistadors soon conquered not only the island peoples of the Caribbean, but also invaded the continent of South and North America, where millions of Indians of various tribes were exterminated in a short time.

The religion of our island, which the first Europeans encountered, was that of the Taíno Indians. The indigenous people honored any form of life, bowed to the dead ancestors and other spirits, who were called “cemi”. They were hewn out of stones and given the appearance of toads, turtles, snakes, and sometimes of a man. During religious rituals, it was customary for the Taíno to induce vomiting with small sticks that they swallowed. According to the beliefs of the Indians, the ritual cleansed the body and soul of impurities. Before eating, bread was offered first of all to the spirits of the seven, then to the shaman, then to everyone else. After that, an epic song was played, accompanied by the playing of musical instruments.The supreme deity was “yukaha” – white yuka or the spirit of yuki. In the concept of the Taino, she was a source of food, therefore, she demanded reverence.

As of today, scientists analyzed the genomes of Puerto Rican women and men. It turned out that the Taino Indians were not almost completely destroyed, but continue to live today. These people have not disappeared. In fact, they are still here among us.

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