The group of indigenous peoples whom Columbus erroneously referred to as “Indians” was actually a collection of different tribes spanning the Lesser Antilles islands. The various groups living in the Bahamas at the time of their arrival were the Eastern, Western and Classical Tainos and a smaller group, the Guanahatabeys. These indigenous peoples spread throughout the Caribbean, with the Tainos dominating the landscape, but not without their share of problems. [Sources: 2]
Of the three groups of Taino peoples, the life and social structure of the classical Tainos is best known to classical Eastern, Western and Western anthropologists and historians. [Sources: 2]
In pre-Columbian times, the Taino Indians were very different from their contemporary counterparts, but they still had a ceremonial culture revolving around the rituals and rituals of their ancestors, such as dancing, singing and dancing for the sun and moon. They even had the same word used for singing and dancing called arieto, one word for two different activities that bring joy and laughter. The people of Tainos were not immune to diseases such as smallpox, measles, and flu that Columbus and his men brought to their island of Hispaniola, and they had no access to medicines or medical treatment for diseases brought in by the Spaniards. [Sources: 0]
The Tainos are a group with roots in South America, which lives mainly in the Lesser Antilles, but also in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. [Sources: 7]
In 18th century Spain, the Taino society was destroyed by introduced diseases, forced assimilation and the plantation economy that Spain imposed on its Caribbean colonies. [Sources: 7]
The Spaniards, who first reached the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola in 1492, did not bring any women with them. It was argued that the various Indian peoples who survived into nineteenth-century Cuba were begged by the women of the Taino, not by the men of their native tribes. [Sources: 7]
The Taino are a group of people who speak the language of the Caribbean today, a mixture of Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish — English. [Sources: 3]
Historians and anthropologists believe that up to 60,000 Tainos lived in Puerto Rico when Columbus arrived in 1493, but their ranks were soon decimated by infectious diseases such as smallpox brought in from Europe. Before Europeans arrived in the New World, they lived on the island and also spoke the Arawak language. There are no known landmarks, no traces of the original inhabitants and only a handful of archaeological sites. [Sources: 6]
By the time of the Spanish conquest, the largest population center in the world could have housed 3,000 people, according to the American Museum of Natural History. [Sources: 1]
When Columbus sailed to the Caribbean, he first met farm workers living in what is now Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba. The Spaniards, who reached the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola for the first time in 1492, did not bring any women with them on this first expedition. [Sources: 1, 4]
The Taino, a peaceful people, were for a long time a distant cousin of the Caribbean, from which the Caribbean got its name. They lived in peace, although the more warlike “Caribs,” as they were called, occasionally attacked their settlements with canoes. The Tainos managed to build their own roads, schools, hospitals, churches and other buildings, and they could count on being descended from the mother line. But their wives and husbands had to live in separate communities because of lack of access to water, food, and health care. [Sources: 4, 5]
Spanish overlords, who treated them like slaves easily controlled by the Spanish, quickly decimated their populations. The Taino survived, although most of their culture had been wiped out, but no effort was made to revive their identity and culture. [Sources: 5]
At that time the Taino’s neighbors were the Cayman Islands, a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Puerto Rico. Often referred to as “Pequeñas Antillas” or “Lesser Antilles,” the name was applied to the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, also on the Atlantic coast, not far from the Dominican Republic. [Sources: 1, 5]
The Taino people named the island of Guanahani, which Columbus renamed San Salvador, after the Spanish savior. Columbus called them “Indians,” a reference that extended to all the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. [Sources: 1]
The complexity behind the ancient ball game still eludes the mind today, specifics of the game are still unclear, what is clear is of the ball game’s existence, whether as a ritual or as entertainment, the ball game was a vital part to Mesoamerican societies, just as sports have a surmountable influence nearly 498 years later. [Sources: 8]
Thank you so much Stephanie Rios, for that beautiful article full of information. Because of your work in researching all of that about the Batey game the Tainos participated in, I believe in myself even more now about writing a book series regarding my heritage, my lineage. I am happier to know my people participated in a deeply integrating sport, hobby, passion and center stone of the culture that is literally everyone in the Arawak lineage.
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