Diego Salcedo (soldier)
Diego Salcedo (died 1511) was a semi-legendary Spanish conquistador who is said to have lived during the colonization of the Americas. According to legend, his death at the hands of Taíno Indians ignited the Taíno rebellion of 1511.
According to the story, Salcedo died in 1511, during a trip to Puerto Rico, when Taíno Indians, under the command of Agüeybaná II (brother of the great Taino Cacique Agüeybaná) and the Cacique of Añasco, Urayoán, drowned him in the Rio Grande de Añasco. Historically, two versions about how Salcedo was lured to his death have collided. Many books assert that the soldier had been told he'd be taken to a lake filled with Taíno women that he could have sex with, and, once there, he found not women, but men who then proceeded to drown him. The other version has Salcedo being offered a ride across a river by Taínos who carried him on their arms, and then drowned him and kept him for days, afraid he'd still be alive and until they were certain he was dead.
A third, and most accepted version of Salcedo's death says that the Tainos fearing that the Spaniards might be gods refrained from harming them. After suffering under the Spaniards for so long the Tainos, by order of Agüeybaná, ambush Salcedo as he is drinking water at the edge of a river. Fearing that Salcedo may resurrect after three days -based on their understanding of the Christian teachings wielded by Catholic priests- that sat around for three days waiting for Salcedo to comeback from the dead, but all they saw was Salcedo's body rotting due to the heat just as they would. At that moment the Tainos realized that these were no gods.
It was with Salcedo's death that the Taíno Indians were encouraged to declare war on the Spaniards in Puerto Rico. This led to the Taino rebellion of 1511. However, the Indians were quickly defeated due to the Spaniards' better weaponry and war expertise.
A local-legend tells of a ghostly Indian woman, supposedly Salcedo's lover, that still haunts the site of his drowning at present-day Añasco. This belief is exemplified by a verse in the town's anthem:
|“||History tells that here Salcedo was drowned, and that in the fall a female Indian is seen at night.||”|
Salcedo in popular culture
Salcedo is referenced in a song of Puerto Rican rock band Fiel a la Vega. The song is titled "El Asunto: Salcedo Sigue Siendo Mortal" (The Issue: Salcedo is still a Mortal) and it makes a comparison between the Spaniards' rule in the island and the United States' invasion of 1898.
- Scarano, Francisco (1993). "Puerto Rico: Cinco Siglos de Historia", McGraw Hill, ISBN 958-600-050-8.