nachgebautes Dorf der Taino in Guamá auf Kuba
copied village of the Taino in Guamá on Cuba

the Arawak (also: Taino or Arawaken) are a indigenes people, whose origins lie in Venezuela. They had a culture with agriculture , cotton, progressed far - and gold processing, peacefully and matrilinear organized, them made possible,gradually nearly all Central America pre-aged islands starting from 700 v. Chr. to settle. The meeting with starting from 800 the n. Chr. from the today's Suriname and Guyana near-urgent, extremely aggressive and martially superior Kariben had to oppose the Arawak however to nothing, so that her soon only Trinidad, the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, which inhabited Dominican republic and Puerto Rico.

Nowadays Arawak trunks exist only on the American mainland. In the Peruvian Amazon area approximately 1,700 particularly by drillings for oil strongly endangered Machiguenga and Yine Arawak live, as well as in Colombia and Venezuela the Goajiro Arawak with approximately 60,000 humans.

Table of contents

first contact of the Europeans by Kolumbus

1492 arrived then Christoph Kolumbus on the westIndian islands . In its diary it describes the Arawak as “innocently and from such Freigiebigkeit with what ithave that nobody would believe it, which did not see it with own eyes. Which always one requests from them, they never say no, but request one expressly to accept it and show thereby as much kindness, as if they would give their heart to one. “This judgementdid not prevent it however to let in November 1493 a Arawak in Hispaniola behead groundlessly. It was the first in writing testified killing of an Indian by the Spaniards at all, but not the latter: Already 100 years later were the Arawak of the Kolonialisierung in the form ofHard labour and brought in diseases to the victim please and around 1600 on Hispaniola completely become extinct (see below).

economics, technical achievements

the Arawaken were primarily field farmers. Their main cultivation products were Yucca, corn, sweet potatoes (Bataten), peanuts, pineapple, beans, Ají(sharp pepper) and tobacco. From the Yucca roots they won flour, from which they backten on round Tonplatten thin Fladen, called Casabe. This Casabe is until today in rural areas of its former settlement area, e.g. in the Dominican republic, admits. (Genuine) the potatoes, tomatoesand cocoa, likewise plants of the new world, which were already cultivated in before-Colombian time in Mexico, were not yet well-known the Arawaken against it. The Arawaken used only simple tools in the agriculture, as stone axes or grave sticks, whose end in the fire was hardened; in dry regions putit however already irrigation canals for their fields on. Besides they went on the hunt, e.g. after the Manatí (the sea-cow), and to fishing. They hardly operated trade among themselves or with other peoples; they maintained primarily Subsistenzwirtschaft. Metalworking was limited to gold;this served them for Schmuckstücke, e.g. Ear pendant for their Kaziken. For example were the Arawaken and/or. Taínos on Hispaniola already all Goldlagerstätten admits, the late the Spaniards exploited and/or. those today to be still or again exploited. Tips of the spear and arrow were manufactured from bones, turtle tanks or stones.Ceramic(s) was already highly developed. Beside vorratsgefässen also smaller God figures were manufactured made of ceramic(s). Besides there was container from the Higüero fruits (Baumkalebassen), like it today still in the Karibik admits is (for tourist souvenirs to be however nearly only manufactured). The Arawaken thatKaribik were also good sailors and understood it good Kanus to rooms. In such could up to 80 persons place find.

clothes according to

the warm climate

the Arawaken

lived society, culture [work on] to a large extent without clothes. They used those however already Cotton for the production of covers, Ziergürteln and hammocks. They painted themselves gladly with coloring materials, which won them from ground connection, ash and fruits. Here were most important the black juices of the Jagua , a Sapotacaea kind and the red the Bija (Bixa orellana). In addition they decorated themselveswith feathers/springs of different birds and Halsketten or ear decoration from shells carried. Carrying of gold decoration was reserved the Kaziken.

social organization

The Arawaken was organized in master federations, which were led by the Kaziken mentioned. These knew both men and - in exceptional cases- also women its. So one was the Kaziken on the island Hispaniola at present the Conquista a woman named Anacaona (see below). A Council of Elders and a medicine man, the Behike, which kept the contact upright to the Gods and spirit, stood for the Kaziken to the side.Although also women could play important social roles, the society was very patriarchalisch coined/shaped. It was delivered e.g. that on Hispaniola at present the arrival of the Spaniards a Kazike was to have lived, which possessed 30 Mrs. „“. The Arawaken lived in villages; larger cities like the Maya , There were not Aztecs or Inkas with them yet. Also they did not leave important buildings of stones. Their houses were covered from wood and with vegetable fibers (Palmblättern etc.). These houses were every now and then very roomy and offered place at the same time for several families.


Their religion was mentioned a nature religion with according to many nature Gods and - spirit, Cemies. Besides admired they in addition, a higher nature, which protect-amuse on Hispaniola the Yucahú one called. People or animal victims was not brought by the Arawaken - admits so far -. Their most important religiousCeremony was the ritual of the Cojoba, with which tobacco and other berauschende herbs were inhaliert and with the Behike and Kazike in drink shifted, in order to communicate with the Gods. Further ritual meetings were the Areytos, dance celebrations, with those songs in honours of the Godsand the deceased of master members were sung; in addition the Arawaken knew ritual ball plays.

the alleged Friedfertigkeit of the Arawaken

the Spaniards described the Arawaken - contrary to the Kariben - as expressed friedfertig (see above quotation of Kolumbus). This was correct up to a certainDegree; thus for example the Taínos on Hispaniola tried to arrange with the Spaniards, also as it noted that these had not come by any means in peaceful intention. A speech of the Kazikin Anacaona is delivered, in which it requests the Spaniards with one another to a peaceful. The Arawakenwar courses in addition, knew, both against the Kariben and against the Spaniards (see next chapter). Although they were only simple weapons, how clubs and Speere possessed, them nevertheless every now and then invention-rich: Thus they scorched Ají (sharp pepper) and tried thereby their enemies „to out-smoke “and/or. into strike the escape. Also which concerned punishments within the community opposite law crushers, were they not zimperlich. The smallest passing was already punished with death.

the history of the Taínos on Hispaniola

the history of the Taínos on the island Hispaniola likes asexemplary to the fate of these peoples at present the Conquista apply. As Kolumbus 1492 the island „discovered “, lived there about 300,000 humans (some estimations speak of approximately one million), most of Taínos which were organized in 5 federations. The names of the federations are well-knownand stood partial godfather for the today's regions on Hispaniola: Marién (northwest), led of Guancanagarix (speak: Guancanagarisch), Maguá (northeast), led of Guarionex (Guarionesch), Maguana (Zentralkordillere), led of Caonabo, the married man of the later Herrscherin Anacaona, which was simultaneous like that something as „the Oberkazike “of the island; Higüey (the east), led of Cayacoya and Jaragua (the south), led of Bohechio, the brother Anacaonas. Only completely in the northeast and/or. on the peninsula Samaná settled at that time already Kariben and/or. a mixing people from Kariben and Taíons, the Macoríes in such a way specified. As Kolumbus with one of its three shipsto 24. December 1492 at the north coast Hispanilas shipwreck suffered, helped it the Taínos under the Kaziken Guancanagarix save this and establish a settlement. In this settlement, which was called Navidad (Christmas), Kolumbus left 39 men. As Kolumbus about one year lateragain after Navidad, was however destroyed the settlement arrived and all its men was exhausted. This was on go-eats the Oberkaziken Caonabo happened, whereby one reports, the Spaniards against women from its community would have passed and ungebührend would ungebührend have specified themselves. After this first conflict establishedthe Spaniards of another place a new settlement, called La Isabela. From there they undertook expeditions the inside the island, finally reached 1496 the south coast, where they created the city Santo Domingo. Caonabo was imprisoned taken later by the Spaniards and brought to Spain. Itdied on the return trip; it means, it tried from the ship to to flee and in the sea drowned.

Although Kolumbus had been friendly received from the inhabitants of the island, also he played as „a gentleman human being “up and agreed upon themselves first with the Kaziken that these theirSovereignty kept were allowed, if it each male Taíno delivers annually one „clip gold “. This absurd demand was fulfilled however only by the Kaziken Guarionex. “The Spaniards used „the breach of contract as pretext to accomplish first punitive expeditions against the natives of the island. At the same time the Spaniards began the country underto divide itself, whereby a law (mentioned „repartimiento “) determined that humans living on the assigned country belonged to the new gentlemen likewise „“. This requirement for rule was interspersed with force of arms. It came along - still at times of Christoph Kolumbus and its brother Bartolomé - to some fights„the Indios “, like the Spaniards the natives called, e.g.1495 in the level of La Vega. With this battle against a group Kaziken Guarionex mentioned by Taínos under is to have appeared to the Spaniards - so to today common legend - the virgin Maria andit prophesied the victory to the Spaniards, to have however also required that you are to be established a church. The church was built actually and is until today an important place of pilgrimage in the Dominican republic („Santo Cerro “with La Vega).

After the capture of the Kaziken Caonabo becamehis Mrs. Anacaona (on German „golden flower “) highest Herrscherin of the Taínos. After Kolumbus was fallen in disgrace, the Spanish crown governors on the island used, first Bobadilla, finally in the year 1502 Nicolas de Ovando. The latter proved opposite the Taínos as particularlymore brutally and rear spar aluminium tiger ruling power. It gave to want to celebrate its assumption of office and loaded in addition all Kaziken and their families to a celebration. After the reports of the monk Bartolomé de Casas read the badless and unarmed Taínos to the Festessen into a large timber building was led,which was then ignited; who flees before the flames nkonnte, by the soldiers Ovandos was finally shot and killed. About 300 humans are loud read Casas with this massacre to have died. Anacaona however could escape; in addition Guarocuya escaped from the massacre allegedly the son Anacaonas, Higüemota,the daughter Anacaonas, Mencia, their niece (and later Mrs. Guarocuyas) and the Taíno prince Hatüey, to Cuba went later and (however unsuccessful) a rebellion against the Spaniards there organized.

After the massacre the Taínos was practically robbed of its Führungsschicht, which the conquest of the islandby the Spaniards facilitated. Anacaona was imprisoned taken later and erhängt. Their Leichnahm publicly placed to look. It means that the Spanish queen Isabella, when she experienced from the fate Anacaonas, extreme one on which was indignant. At all the Spanish king house did not pursue by any meansthe policy to enslave or exterminate the natives of the new colonies; rather edicts were issued again and again, which assured the Indios liberty and soundness - which was considered however in no way by the colonial gentlemen and governors in overseas.

The Taínos was not only support weapon-moderately for the Spaniards. In addition came the diseases, which brought the Spaniards in, who were not unknown on the islands so far and against those the natives defense materials had:Smallpox, masers, flu. Further many Taínos collective suicide committed themselves, there it the inhuman conditionsthe slavery, which to them the Spaniards imposed upon, not differently to extract could. Finally some the new masters of the island also from arbitrariness and to the pastime „its Indios is to have tortured and kill “; for example one left the Konquistadoren daily 12 slaves kreuzigen, over thereby „the 12 Apostelto honour “. Is to be met to such reports however with caution. Fact is however that 16 years lived only 60,000 natives on the island after the first contact between Taínos and Spaniards, in the year 1513 was it only 25,000, 1517 only 11,000 and1518 only 4.000!

In the year 1519 there was the last important resistance of the Taínos. The Kazike Guarocuya, which had accepted the Christian name Enrique („Enriquillo verniedlicht “), said itself of the Spaniards, scharte the last free Taínos loosely around itself and led from the mountainsfrom a guerrilla war for many years against the Spaniards. Its motive is to have been however initially not the removal of the Spanish rule, but personal revenge because of a Entehrung of its wife. Enriquillo succeeded it to develop the myth of the Unbesiegbarkeit. Only 1533 were settled the fight. On instruction of theSpanish king a peace closed, that the survivor Taínos, it are 500 to have been, liberty and a piece country assured. The Taínos settled in the desert area with Azua. Toward end of the 16.Jh. an epidemic their municipality is to have further dezimiert; the remaining ones mixed themselves in the course of the time with the Spaniards in addition, the black African, who as slaves on the island were brought, and lost thus their cultural and ethnical identity.

It is mentioned in this context that the Dominikanermönch Bartolomé de read Casas as well as other priests itselfbegan with the Spanish crown for the Indios. Read Casas wrote an extensive report over the life of the Indios and the treatment, which her from its compatriots, to which in Spain large attention found, however after read Casas had not happened to death for over 300 yearsto be printed were allowed. With a public dispute in the year 1550 in the city Valladolid stepped read Casas on against the priest Sepulveda, which stated in its writings, the Indios its low, primitive natures, which had been rightfully enslaved. Read Casas sat down with thisDispute through; Sepulvedas rushing writings were occasionally forbidden. In the policy in the colonies thereby however nothing changed.

the inheritance of the Taínos

an invention of the Taínos is used until today not only in the Karibik, but world-wide: The hammock. The SpanishWord for it, la hamaca, originates from the Taíno language. Further words from the Taíno, which was taken over by the Spanish and partly by other languages is: huracán (hurricane, eddy tower), tiburón (shark fish), manatí (sea-cow), tobaco (tobacco), ají (pepper), maíz (corn), yuca (Yucca), papaya (Papaya),maní (peanut; however there is on Spanish also the expression cacahuete), guayaba (Guave), lambí (wing snail), caimán (Kaiman, crocodile), canoa (Kanu), cacique (Kazike, chieftain). Also our word pineapple originates from the Taíno; on Spanish this fruit is called however today piña.Further are common in the Dominican republic: bohío (reed hut), casabe (Fladenbrot), sabana (level), cayo (small island) and batey (village). Finally a great many geographical designations of the Taínos outlasted: Jamaica, Cuba, Aíti (Haiti), Cibao (landscape on Hispaniola) etc.; the original name for Hispaniola, Quisqueya, livesamong other things in a Dominican beer mark further. In addition are old Taíno names, like Caracoya, Hatüey or Anacaona, with which Dominikanern (again) as first name likes.

See also: Indigene of peoples of Central America and the Karibik, Indigene of peoples of South America, history of Cuba, history of the Dominican republic.

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Literature, sources

Bruijning, C.F.A. and Voorhoeve, J. (talk.): Encyclopedie van Suriname, Amsterdam and. Brussels 1977, Uitg. Elsevier, page 36.

Cassa, R.: Loosely Taínos de Española. In: OD. de la UASD, Santo Domingo, 1974

read Casas, B.: Report of the devastation of the westIndianCountries, island publishing house, Frankfurt 1966, reproduction 1990 (Hrsg. Hans Magnus Enzensberger)

Moya Pons, F.: Manual de la Historia Dominikana, Santo Domingo, 1992

Rood, C.A.: A Dominican chronicle. Santo Domingo, 1985

Thum, CH. u.R.: Dominican republic. Mai's world leader 47, three-calibrate, 1996

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