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The Taino Natives

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 10 months ago
The Colonization of the Caribbean
About Guanahani/San Salvador
Guanahani/San Salvador:
·        The site where Christopher Columbus landed in 1492
·        San Salvador is also know as Guanahani, which is the Native name for it.
·        Arawak Natives inhabited the islands when Christopher Columbus first set foot on it
·        Columbus was to go to India and get spices for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which would bolster Spain’s imperial economy.
·        Christopher Columbus met the Lucayan, Taino, and Arawak natives when he arrived on San Salvador, they were all very friendly to him.
·        San Salvador was also known as Watling’s Island around 1925
·        The capital of this island is Cockburn Town, which has a population of less than 1000 people.
·        At 2AM on October 12, 1492 they sighted land
·        Guanahani means “iguana” to the Taino Natives
·        The Taino Natives arrived in large numbers with cotton, parrots, and spears to trade with the Spaniards.
·        They traded red caps and glass beads for around the neck for parrots, cotton threads in skeins, and spears.
           The island had many trees, which were very green
The Colonization of the Caribbean
Lifestyle of the Taino Natives:
· Gentle Culture
· Characterized by happiness, friendliness, and a highly organized hierarchical, paternal society, and a lack of guile.
· Every society was a small kingdom and their leader was called cacique
· Five different kingdoms on the island at the time of Columbus (Hispaniola)
· Natives practiced polygamy
· Many men had 2-3 wives, Caciques had as many as 30
· Great honour for women to be married to a cacique
Housing and Dress:
· General population lived in circular buildings with poles providing primary support. These were covered in wooden straw and palm leaves
· Somewhat like North American teepees, except they needed to reflect the warmth rather than keep it in
· Caciques housing was rectangular and had a small porch
· Used same materials as the general population
· Caciques homes contained only his own family
· However, he had many wives which led to having a very large family
· Round houses of common people were also large
· Each containing 10-15 men and their whole families
· Any Taino house might hold 100 people
· Slept in cotton hammocks or on mats of banana leaves
· Made wooden chairs with woven seats, couches, and made cradles for their children
· Village contained a flat court in the middle of the village, which was used for ball games and various festivals, both religious and secular.
· Houses built around the court
· Stone making was especially developed
· Primarily used for tools and decoration
· Men were generally naked, but women sometimes wore short skirts
Food and Agriculture:
· Centered around meat or fish as their primary source of protein
· Not many wild animals on Hispaniola, but there were some small animals that were hunted and enjoyed
· They also ate snakes, various rodents, bats, worms, and birds.
· Hunted ducks and turtles in the lakes and seas
· Relied heavily on fishing
· Ate fish raw or partially cooked
· Grew cotton on the island
· Had fishing nets made of cotton
· Raised crops in conuco; a large mound which was devised especially for farming
· Packed conuco with leaves to protect from soil erosion and fixed a large variety of crops to assure that something would grow, no matter what the weather was
· A primary crop was cassava
· Root crop, in which the poisonous juice must be squeezed
· Then it is baked into a bread like slab
· They grew corn (maize), squash, beans, peppers, sweet potatoes, yams, and peanuts.
· Raised tobacco and enjoyed smoking a lot
· Tobacco was used in religious ceremonies
· Had no large animals like horses, oxen or mules to ride or use for work
· They had river and sea transportation
· Used dugout canoes, which were cut from a single tree trunk and used with paddles
· Able to take 70-80 people in a canoe and even used them for long travels on the sea
· Allowed for easier access to fish
· Were quite peaceful, but had to defend themselves from the Caribs (cannibals)
· Caribs were centered at what today is known as Puerto Rico, but some did live in northeast Hispaniola
· Often raided the more peaceful Taino natives, killing off the men, stealing and holding the women for breeding, and fattening the children to eat
· They used the bow and arrow and had developed some poison for their arrow tips
· They had cotton ropes for defensive purposes
· Had spears with fish hooks on the end
· Had war clubs made of macana
· They did not develop armor or any defensive weapons (shield, etc)
Religion and Myth:
· They were Polytheists
· Gods called ZEMI
· ZEMI controlled various functions of the universe, very much like Greek gods did
· Didn’t have particular personalities like the Greek gods
· Three primary religious practices:
- Religious worship and obeisance to the ZEMI themselves
- Dancing in the village court during special festivals of thanksgiving or petition
- Medicine men, or priests, consulting the ZEMI for advice and healing. This is done in public ceremonies with song and dance.
Features At A Religious Feast:
- Had special dress, which included paint and feathers.
- From knees down, covered in shells
- Medicine man (shaman) presented carved figures of the ZEMI
- Cacique sat on wood stool, which was the place of honour
- Ceremonial beating of drums
- Ceremonial purging and other rites were symbolic
- Women served bread, 1st to ZEMI, then to the Cacique and then the people
- Singing of the village in honour of cacique and his ancestors. Poet recited, he was accompanied by a maraca, which was a piece of hard wood beaten on pebbles.
- Afterlife, where good would be rewarded.
- Many stone religious artifacts

- ZEMI and dead caciques have certain powers over the world and must be dealt with.





The Caribbean Colonized










- Guanihani, renamed by Columbus, San Salvador


- Christopher Columbus was the first person to land on San Salvador Island. When he first came to the island he was very interested in it and after he was done exploring it he returned to Spain. The second time he came back was the year later and when they arrived several arrows were fired at the ships that he and his men were on, and several members on each side were killed. Columbus then named that area San Salvador Island. That island then became United States territory.






-There weren’t many ways to get to islands around the world but the most common way was by boat. Christopher and his men were exploring the Caribbean and came across few islands. The first time he came there he didn’t see anything but something that looked like and island. The second time he came he pulled on t shore with his ships and the Indians that lived on that island were shooting arrows at them. After this happened.




- The reason why the Indians were shooting the Europeans was because they were on there land. The Europeans were on that land just to explore, but the reason why the Indians were so angry was because there way of life was to have only there type of people on that island and Christopher Columbus and his men were different people to them and the Europeans thought the Indians were different then them.


-The reason why Christopher Columbus went to this island was because he was curious about what was on it. When the arrows were first fired he knew that there was people on that island and they didn’t want him and his men there. Those people were natives that lived freely on those islands, the way they lived was very different than how Christopher Columbus way of life was. There way of life relied on family, shelter, and the environment. Without these things they wouldn’t have survived and had a chance to fight the Europeans when they attacked.





- The natives that lived on this island were afraid of the people that they didn’t recognize. To these people they were imposters there to hurt them for all they knew. So they thought that if they protected themselves from this from happening then it wouldn’t happen again. But later on Columbus and his men came back to the island to explore more of what was on it and who was on it. They were curious of how to these people lived there with nothing (In the Europeans point of view). So the natives were afraid of them because they were harmful to them and were completely different to their point of view.




- The Indians way of life was free and peaceful; they had everything that they needed and more. There main priority in life was there family and taking care of them. When there way of life was over there wasn’t really a place for them to go back to how it was, they had to change their way of life and live the way the Europeans did. So the Indians way of life is still here, but in the future will history repeat itself?




- The Europeans point in life was weapons, wealth, and power. This was the complete opposite of the Natives, that’s why they were so different. The Europeans power over concurred the Indians way of life because the Europeans had more power, so when you really think about it, who has more power now?




- During the daily lives of the many Indians that lived on that island they went through many things. First they would wake up early in the morning when the sunset, then they would find breakfast (which was normally fruit from the trees around them). The next thing that they did was build a fire for them to cook supper, they would then get a tribe and go find kill for supper. They would roast it over the fire and eat it with there family. They would repeat this routine everyday unless the when the Europeans started to come to this island they had to add more things to there routine. When the Europeans first started to discover the islands the Indians had to fight them off some way. The weapons that the Indians used were very different than what the Europeans used, that’s why it was so hard for them to fight them off, and that’s why they ended up losing the fight. There wasn’t much that they could do, just because they Europeans had better weapons and more power.




- After all of the things that had happened to the Indians their feelings towards the Europeans never changed if anything they got worse. After Columbus and his men found what was on that island they thought they would discover is more, but while they were there they were spreading many harmful diseases which killed the natives, and they were also worked to death by the Spanish. This is what happened during the discovery of San Salvador Island.




-All of the things that happened on San Salvador Island was very tragic, all of the Indians that lived on the island had a different way of life and were killed because of the many harmful diseases that the Europeans carried when exploring the island, and the rest of the Indians were worked to death by the Spanish. So when you think about it, how the Europeans were the ones who took over, what if the Indians were stronger and they took over the Europeans land. What would the world be like today? Would it be completely different? Would is be better or worse?




Family Ways:


-There are strange men coming to the island but we are forbidden to see them because they are dangerous.


-There are many rules in are village, only because of are culture.


-My mom and dad had a second child who must be killed.


-We are constantly running from the Europeans.


-I’m not sure why the Europeans are even here.


-During the day we usually ate things that we found in the jungle.




- Some of the things that the natvies would normally eat would be fruits, worms, birds, bats, snakes, and various rodents. They ate these things because it was the only types of food on the island, if these different types of food ran scarce than the village lived on the plants that were around them, but that didnt happen rarely.





- The people on the island dressed by there sex, if you were a man you were generally nude, but if you were a woman you would normally wear shirts. The reason they dressed like this was because it had to do a lot with their culture and they were very religious.





- During the time that the Taino Natives lived there wasn't many ways to get around. What they would normally have to do is either go by foot everywhere they went or the would go by boat along the large streams and rivers that ran through the islands. When it was their time they had no large animals to get around on like horses and oxens. Although they didn't have these things they still had ways to get around and go places they needed to go. So what would've happened if it had always been like that? No horses, oxens, cars, etc. What would the world be like today?





- Overall the Taino Natives were queit loving and caring people, but when it came to defending themselves they were pretty well off. The types of weapons used for these types of things were bow and arrows, ropes, and spears. By far it wouldn'y match the things that the Europeans used for defense mechanisms, but it helped them while they lasted.





- The Taino Natives were surrouded by many beautiful things. They got to live with the palm trees swaying above them, the waves hitting the shore, and the sun shining down from the sky. All of these things were beautiful to the natives just like they would be to any other person. But when you think about it these types of places weren't found everywhere, that's one of the reasons why Christopher Columbus found this unknown place so beautiful. If you lived in a place so beautiful would you ever want to leave it? That's why they didn't want to.




About the European(s)

 European Voyages of Exploration:Christopher Columbus

European Exploration of the Southeast and Caribbean

European colonization of the Americas: Wikipedia


Columbus' Sailing Ships 



European Notes:



Christopher Columbus



Set Sail?

September 1492

Sighted Land?

October. 11, 1492



In the language of the Indians, Guanahani, once founded by Columbus, he declared it San Salvador, today known as the Bahamas.


Preparing for voyage and the voyage:

· Columbus’ original plan, for his first voyage, was to find a direct sea route from Europe to Asia. (India)

· In 1484 Columbus asked King Joao II of Portugal to sponsor a voyage to Caribbean.

· Plan is rejected; in 1488 he returns to kinds once again, the plan is rejected a second time.

· 1490-1492, Spanish authorities finally approve of this voyage. He was then appointed to being Admiral of Ocean Sea and to rule and govern whatever territory he might discover.

· He was granted three ships for his first voyage the Pinta, the Santa Maria, and the Nina.

· Commander of Santa Maria: Christopher Columbus. Commander of Pinta: Martin Alonzo Pinzon. Commander of Nina: Vincente Yanez Pinzon.

· Out of the 3 ships, the crew totaled 90 men.


About Spain:

· Before Columbus set sail to the Americas’, Spain’s only possession outside of Europe was the Canary Islands.

· By the mid sixteenth century Spain would own the Caribbean, large portions of America and parts of Africa.









About Columbus:

· Christopher Columbus set sail in September 1492. European settlements in the Caribbean began with him.

· Columbus was one of the greatest seamen and explorers. He was granted three ships for his first voyage the Pinta, the Santa Maria, and the Nina.

· Columbus had different ideas on the world. He believed the world was round and not flat.

· Columbus was determined to make his way to India. The sailors in his fleet had little enthusiasm about this long voyage.

· The first thing Columbus did after arriving on shore was to take possession of this new land in the name of the Spanish throne.

· Columbus renames Guanahani Island as San Salvador, meaning Holy Savior. (Today known as Bahamas)

· Columbus is an Italian navigator.

· Columbus found the Americas’ unintentionally.

· Columbus went back to the Caribbean in four different voyages.






Settlements, About the Caribbean, first land sighting, human existence:

· The Caribbean was explored and being settled in by Europeans in 1492.

· A little over a month at sea, (October 11, 1492) Columbus and his ships sighted land. Today this land is now known as the Bahamas.

· “At two hours after midnight the land was sighted at a distance of two miles.”

· “Having landed, they saw trees very green, and much water, and fruits of divers’ and kinds.”

· “Presently after they had arrived they saw naked people”

· “We gave them red caps and glass beads to put around their necks, and other things of little value. This gave them great pleasure.”

· “They afterward came to the ships, bringing us parrots, cotton threads and skeins, darts and many other things. Which we exchanged for glass beads and small bells.”

· ”It appeared to be a race of people very poor in everything. They go as naked as when their mothers bore them. And so do the women”

· “All very well made with very handsome bodies and very good countenances. Their hair is coarse and short almost like the hairs of a horse’s tail. They wear their hair brought down to their eyebrows, except a few locks behind which the wear long and never cut. They paint themselves black, and they are the color of the Canarian’s, neither black nor white. Some paint themselves red, others white, and others of what color they find. Some paint their faces, others the whole body, some only round the eyes, others only on the nose. ”

· ” They neither carry nor know anything of arms, for I showed them swords, and they took them by the blade and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their darts being wands without iron, some of them having a fish's tooth at the end, and others being pointed in various ways. They are all of fair structure and size, with good faces, and well made. ”

· “They should be good servants and intelligent, for I observed that they quickly took in what was said to them, and I believe that they would easily be made Christians, as it appeared to me that they had no religion.”

· When Columbus got there, Lucayan Indians inhibited the Island. He names this island San Salvador, meaning Holy Savior.

· At dawn, his convoy sailed to the island and went ashore with the banner of Spain.


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