Agüeybaná (The Great Sun)
The most powerful Taíno Cacique in Puerto Rico (Borikén)
|Nickname||"The Great Sun"|
|Commands held||Taínos of "Borikén"|
|Relations||Brother of Güeybaná (better known as Agüeybaná II)|
Agüeyaná (died 1510), was one of the two principal and most powerful caciques (chiefs) of the Taíno people in "Borikén" (Puerto Rico) when the Spaniards first arrived on the island on November 19, 1493.
"The Great Sun"
Agüeybaná, whose name means "The Great Sun," lived with his tribe in Guaynia (Guayanilla), located near a river of the same name, on the southern part of the island. All the other Caciques were subject to and had to obey Agüeybaná, even though they governed their own tribes.
Arrival of the conquistadors
Agüeybaná received the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León upon his arrival in 1508. According to an old Taíno tradition, Agüeybaná practiced the "guatiao," a Taíno ritual in which he and Juan Ponce de León became friends and exchanged names. Ponce de León then baptized the cacique's mother into Christianity and renamed her Inés.
The cacique joined Ponce de León in the exploration of the island. After this had been accomplished, Agüeybaná accompanied the conquistador to the island of La Española (what today comprises the nations of the Dominican Republic and Haiti), where he was well received by the Governor Nicolás de Ovando. Agüeybaná's actions helped to maintain the peace between the Taíno and the Spaniards, a peace which was to be short-lived.
The hospitality and friendly treatment that the Spaniards received from Agüeybaná made it easy for the Spaniards to betray and conquer the island. After a short period of peace, the Taínos were forced to work in the island's gold mines and in the construction of forts as slaves. Many Taínos died as a result of the cruel treatment which they received.
Death and aftermath
Upon Agüeybaná's death in 1510, his brother Güeybaná (better known as Agüeybaná II) became the most powerful Cacique in the island. Agüeybaná II was troubled by the treatment of his people by the Spanish and attacked them in battle. The Tainos were ultimately defeated at the Battle of Yagüecas.
After this, Tainos in Puerto Rico either abandoned the island, were forced to labor as slaves, or were killed by the Spaniards. Many also succumbed to the smallpox epidemic that attacked the island in 1519.
Agüeybaná is admired in Puerto Rico for his dedication to his people and attempting to keep the peace. Puerto Rico has named many public buildings and streets after him:
- The City of Bayamón has named a high school after him.
- There is a street in Caguas that honors him.
- An avenue in the Hato Rey area of San Juan is named after Agüeybaná.
- Puerto Rico once had an equivalent to the Oscars which was awarded annually and was called the "Agüeybaná de Oro" (The Golden Agüeybaná), in honor of the great cacique.
Many songs and poems, by poets such as Juan Antonio Corretjer, among others, have been written about Agüeybaná.
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- Agüeybaná II
- List of Taínos
- Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center
- La Rebelion del Cacique Agüeybaná II. En Marcha: Organo del Comite Central del Partido Comunista Maxista Leninista de Ecuador. Seccion: Testimonio y Dialéctica. 8 May 2006. Page 1. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Land Tenure Development in Puerto Rico. Cathy Bryan. Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering. University of Maine. Orono, Maine. ca. 2000. Old Town, Maine: James W. Sewall Company. Page 5. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Puerto Rico y su historia: Investigaciones críticas. Salvador Brau. Valencia, España: Imprenta Francisco Vives Mora. 1894. Page 64. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- LA REBELIÓN DEL CACIQUE AGUEYBANA II
- Land Tenure Development in Puerto Rico
- "A Historical Overview of Colonial Puerto Rico: The Importance of San Juan as a Military Outpost". Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "Genocide program, Puerto Rico". Yale. Archived from the original on 20 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- Puerto Rico's First People
- Reference to the "Agüeybaná de Oro"