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  • Topic: Taíno, Puerto Rico, Caribbean
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And their impact on the Caribbean


Thesis Statement: The Taino Indians, a unique group in Hispaniola, made many

contributions to the Caribbean that are still shared and practiced

in modern-day society.


I. Background

A. Definition of Taino
B. Culture / Lifestyle

II. History

A. Housing / dress
B. Food / agriculture
C. Transportation

III. Beliefs

A. Religion
B. Myth

IV. Events

A. November 18, 1493
B. November 19, 1493


On December 6, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed at St. Nicholas, in Haiti (Hispaniola). Consequently, this began a totally new phase of life on the island of Hispaniola. There was a flourishing civilization of Native Americans living there. The primary group was the Arawak/Taino Indians. Arawak is the general group to which the Taino Indians belong, and describes the common language with this group of Native Americans shared. They ranged from Venezuela through the Caribbean and Central America all the way to Florida; however, the particular group of Arawak-speaking people who lived on the island of Hispaniola was the Taino Indians. For about a thousand years the peaceful people known as Taino had thrived in modern-day Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and many other islands in the Lesser and Greater Antilles. However, less than 30 years after Columbus’ journey, Spanish weaponry, force labor, and European diseases would wreck the Tainos. The Tainos left no remains or signs of their existence and all that remained of their culture were a handful of words in Modern English, such as barbecue, canoe, hammock, and hurricane. However, thanks largely to two remarkable digs undertaken over the past two years, archaeologists are increasingly enriching their knowledge of the complex society of the Taino and their sophistication of their artifacts (Corbett 1). This knowledge has been recorded in details and passed on for people to follow ribbean Sea at the time when Christopher Columbus' arrived to the New World.

Tainos: The Peopling of the Caribbean
The word Taino means “men of the good,” and for the most part Tainos were good. The name Taino is currently used to describe all of the Indians of the Caribbean islands at the time of the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Though all of the Indians who lived in these islands at the time may have been similar in appearance and shared a similar language, they did not all share the same cultures. The Tainos were divided into major cultures, the Taino and the Caribs. They were also broken down into different regions; the Western Taino, who inhabited mid to near eastern Cuba and Jamaica; the Classic Taino, who inhabited eastern Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico; and Eastern Taino, who inhabited the northern Lesser Antilles starting from the Virgin Islands extending South. (Barreiro 69).

Taino culture was dominant throughout the Caribbean, a sea and island world that in turn cradle of Taino civilization. The Tainos had an advanced culture that combined agriculture, hunting, and gathering. The Tainos lived in permanent villages consisting of a number of straw houses arranged around an open plaza. In agriculture, seafaring, cosmology, Ciboney and Guanahatabey (western Cuba), Ciguayo (Bohio) and even Carib (Lesser Antilles) all followed the material and much of the psycho-spiritual framework of the Taino. The original Caribbean spoke Arawak. The people of the Arawak language family still comprise one of the more widespread American indigenous cultures, with relatively large kinship nations in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of South America. Throughout the Caribbean usually in remote mountain ranges and costal promontories, remnant groups and communities of Taino-Arawak have been adopted by the mestizo...
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