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Neo-Taíno nations are defined here as the assorted nations of the Caribbean islands, that together with the Taínos, were described on the arrival of European chroniclers or which arose after this historic record was established.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Administrative and/or national units
- 3 Farming and fishing
- 4 Neo-Taíno pharmacopoeia
- 5 Taíno studies
- 6 Sexual mores
- 7 Neo-Taíno and Taíno art
- 8 Metallurgy
- 9 Neo-Taíno nations and related ethnic groups
- 10 The term and context of the Ciboney (Siboney)
- 11 Ciguayo
- 12 Macorix
- 13 Guanahatabey
- 14 Eyeri/Kaliphuna
- 15 Ethnic/cultural derivatives
- 16 Guajiro nation
- 17 Later nations in this general area
- 18 See also
- 19 Notes
- 20 References
Some scholars consider it important to distinguish the Taíno from the neo-Taíno nations or neo-Taíno nations of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola, the Lucayan of the Bahamas and Jamaica. Linguistically or culturally these differences extended from various cognates or types of canoe: canoa, piragua, cayuco to distinct languages. Languages diverged even over short distances. Previously these groups often had distinctly non-Taíno deities such as the goddess Jagua, strangely enough the god Teju Jagua is a major demon of indigenous Paraguayan mythology. Still these groups plus the high Taíno are considered Island Arawak, part of a widely diffused assimilating culture, a circumstance witnessed even today by names of places in the New World; for example localities or rivers called Guamá are found in Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil. Guamá was the name of famous Taíno who fought the Spanish.
Thus, since the neo-Taíno had far more diverse cultural input and a greater societal and ethnic heterogeneity than the true high Taíno (Rouse, 1992) of Boriquen (Puerto Rico) a separate section is presented here. A broader language group is Arawakan languages. The term Arawak (Aruaco) is said to be derived from an insulting term meaning "eaters of meal" given to them by mainland Caribs. In turn the Arawak legend explains the origin of the Caribs as offspring of a putrid serpent.
The social classes of the neo-Taíno, generalized from Bartolomé de las Casas, appeared to have been loosely feudal with the following Taíno classes: naboría (common people), nitaíno' (sub-chiefs, or nobles), bohique, (shamans priests/healers), and the cacique (chieftains, or princes). However, the neo-Taíno seem to have been more relaxed in this respect.
Administrative and/or national units
The Spanish found that most Cuban peoples for the part living peacefully in tidy towns and villages grouped into numerous principalities called Cacigazgos or principalities with an almost feudal social structure Bartolomé de las Casas. They were ruled by leaders or princes, called Caciques. Cuba was then divided into Guanahatabey, Ciboney-Taíno (here neo-Taíno), and Classical (high) Taíno ISBN 0-8173-5123-X. Cuba was then divided into Guanahatabey, Ciboney-Taíno, and Classical Taíno ISBN 0-8173-5123-X. Then some of Western Cuba was Guanahatabey. and some Siboney (see below). Taíno-like cultures controlled most of Cuba dividing it into the Cacigazgos or principalities. Granberry and Vescelius (2004) and other contemporary authors only consider the cazigazgo of Baracoa as classical or high Taíno. Cuban Cacigazgos including Bayaquitiri, Macaca, Bayamo, Camagüey, Jagua, Habana y Haniguanica are treated here as "neo-Taíno" . Hispaniolan (Haití and Quisqueya) principalities at about 1500 included Maguá (Cacique Guarionex); Xaraguá (Behecchio); Maguana (Caonabo); Higüey also called Iguayagua (Higüayo); Ciguayo (Mayobanex), and unnamed region under Cacique Guanacagarí (Wilson, 1990). These principalities are considered to have various affinities to the contemporary Taíno and neo- Taíno cultures from what is now known as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but are generally believed somewhat different ISBN 0-8173-5123-X.
Farming and fishing
The adroit farming and fishing skills of the neo-Taíno nations should not be underestimated; the names of fauna and flora that survive today are testimony of their continued use. Neo-Taíno fishing technologies were most inventive, including arpón (harpoons), and nasa (fishnets) and traps. Neo-Taíno common names of fish are still used today (DeSola, 1932 ; Erdman, 1983; Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission (Division of Marine Fisheries) 2002; Puerto Rico, Commonwealth, 1998). Agriculture included a wide variety of germplasm, including corn (maiz), peanuts, tomato, squash, and beans plus a vast array of tree fruits. Tubers in most frequent use were yuca (Manihot esculenta) a crop with perhaps 10,000 years of development in the Americas; boniato (the "sweet potato" — Ipomoea batatas), and malanga (Xanthosoma sp.)
As with all Arawak (Schultes, Raffault. 1990) and similar cultures there was considerable use of natural pharmacopoeia (Robineau, 1991).
Taíno studies are in a state of both vigorous revival and conflict (Haslip-Viera, 2001). In this conflict deeply embedded cultural mores, senses of nationality and ethnicity struggle with each other. The Syboneistas undertook studies and wrote of neo-Taínos as part and cover for independence struggles against Spain (Fajardo, 1829 - circa 1862; Gautier Benítez, 1873).
Neo-Taíno sexual freedom is well documented by such as Bartolomé de las Casas, Fernández de Oviedo and Américo Vespucio. Father de las Casas writes: "The Indian women of Cuba, as once did women of many places, went naked. Married women wore a small skirt or apron, called an enagua, which did not cover their breasts and rarely reached the knee. These women in the marriage ceremony, took to the marriage chamber all the friends of the husband, and later emerged to the cry Manikato, the cry of victory." (Father Bartolomé de la Casas, circa 1500). Yet there are some who question this in a debate recalling the old controversies surrounding Margaret Mead.
The legend of the mermaid is said to arise from the Ciboney account of seductive, sexually generous Aycayia, the incarnation of beauty and of sin who gave men pleasure but robbed them of will. She and her six lusty sisters were punished, and Aycayia was condemned to the care of an ancient crone Guanayoa, and sent to an isolated place called Punta Majagua. This exile did not improve the situation because she was constantly "visited" by men. Finally, sent to sea, she was said to have transmuted into a mermaid.
Neo-Taíno and Taíno art
Taíno and related art has been celebrated in several significant exhibitions (Alegria, and Arrom 1998; Bercht, et al. 1997; Bullen, Dacal et al.; Kerchache, 1994, most notably in Paris Maciques, 2004)/
Neo-Taíno music (areíto) survives as echoes in the rich traditions of the popular music of the Caribbean, but is believed to continue to exist in its purest form and associated spirituality among the Waroa of Venezuela (Olsen, 1996)
The art of the neo-Taínos demonstrates that these nations had metallurgical skills, and it has been postulated by some e.g. Paul Sidney Martin, that the inhabitants of these islands mined and exported metals such as copper (Martin et al. 1947). The Cuban town of (San Ramón de) Guaninao means the place of copper and is surmised to have been a site of pre-Columbian mining (Zayas, 1914).
(following Granberry and Vescelius, 2004) include:
Ciboney (also Siboney) is a term preferred in Cuban historic context for the neo-Taíno-Siboney nations of the island of Cuba. Our knowledge of the Cuban indigenous cultures which are often, but less precisely, lumped into a category called Taíno (Caribbean Island Arawak) comes from Spanish conquerors' written accounts, oral traditions and considerable archeological evidence.
A separate ethnic identity that differed in language and customs from the classical or high Taíno who lived on the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola then known as Quisqueya and now the Dominican Republic. Wilson (1990) states that circa 1500 this was the kingdom Cacicazgo of Cacique Guacangarí.
A branch of the Taíno in the islands of the Bahamas.
Another separate ethnic identity from what was Quisqueya and now the Dominican Republic. Their language was said to be mutually unintelligible with Taíno, requiring bilingual abilities, but may have been similar to Ciguayo (Wilson, 1990).
A separate ethnic identity from far western Cuba.
Often called Carib, the women, who were often abducted neo-Taínas, spoke Eyeri, a language very close to Taíno (Breton,1665); the men spoke a variant of Carib for trade and ceremony (Wilson, 1990; Rouse, 1992).
The Tequesta of the southeast coast of the Florida peninsula were once considered to be related to the Taíno, but most anthropologists now doubt this. The Tequesta had been present in the area for at least 2,000 years at the time of first European contact, and are believed to have built the Miami Stone Circle. Carl O. Sauer called the Florida Straits "one of the most strongly marked cultural boundaries in the New World", noting that the Straits were also a boundary between agricultural systems, with Florida Indians growing seed crops that originated in Mexico, while the Lucayans of the Bahamas grew root crops that originated in South America.
It is possible that a few Lucayas reached Florida shortly before the first European contacts in the area, but the northwestern Bahamas had remained uninhabited until approximately 1200, and the long established presence of the existing tribes in Florida would have likely prevented any pioneering settlements by people who had only just reached the neighboring islands. Analysis of ocean currents and weather patterns indicates that people traveling by canoe from the Bahamas to Florida were likely to land in northern Florida rather than closer to the Bahamas. A single 'Antillean axe head' found near Gainesville, Florida may support some limited contacts. Due to the same ocean currents, direct travel in canoes from southern Florida to the Bahamas was unlikely.
The term and context of the Ciboney (Siboney)
Ciboney (also Siboney) is a term preferred in Cuban historic contexts for the neo-Taíno nations of Cuba.
Our knowledge of the Cuban indigenous cultures which are often, but less precisely, lumped into a category called Taíno (Caribbean Island Arawak) comes from early Spanish sources, oral traditions and considerable archeological evidence. The Spanish found that most Cuban peoples were, for the most part, living peacefully in tidy towns and villages grouped into numerous principalities called Cacicazgos with an almost feudal social structure (see Bartolomé de las Casas). They were ruled by leaders called Caciques. Cuba was divided into Guanahatabey, Ciboney-Taíno (here neo-Taíno), and Classical (High) Taíno. Some of western Cuba was Guanahatabey and some Siboney (see below).
Taíno-like cultures controlled most of Cuba, dividing it into cacicazgos or principalities. Granberry, Vescelius (2004), and other contemporary authors only consider the cacicazgo of Baracoa as Classical or High Taíno. Cuban cacicazgos including Bayaquitiri, Macaca, Bayamo, Camagüey, Jagua, Habana y Haniguanica are considered neo-Taíno. These principalities are considered to have various affinities to contemporary Taíno and neo-Taíno cultures from Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, but are generally believed to have been somewhat different.
A separate ethnic identity, that differed in language and customs from the classical or high Taíno who lived on the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola then known as Quisqueya and now the Dominican Republic
Another separate ethnic identity from what was Quisquaya and now the Dominican Republic
A separate ethnic identity from far western Cuba
Often called Carib, the women, often abducted neo-Taínas, spoke Eyeri a language very close to Taíno. Kaliphuna (Carib) is distinct the most famous phrase in Carib is "!Ana Cariná Rote!" ‘Only we are human!’ (de Cora, 1972).
Guajiros and Jibaros
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The common name given to the rural inhabitants of Cuba is Guajiros. This word is believed derived from the neo-Taíno honorific title Guaoxoerí (your mercy) given to the nitaínos of lesser nobility; other higher ranking salutations were Baharí (your lordship) and Matumberí (your highness) (Zayas, p. 244-245 and 270). Although Guajiro is often translated as peasant, this is a misnomer, unlike peasants which in Spanish are called peónes by definition those who travel on foot, Guajiros often ride their small tough Criollo horses, are usually armed with cutlasses (machetes), and lived predominantly in separate scattered housing or small towns. This dwelling spacing apparently derives from circumstances left over from the times of the cimarrón (La Rosa Corzo, 2003), and the repressions of the count of Valmaceda in the Ten Years' War and that of Valeriano Weyler in the 1895–1898 Cuban War of Independence. The Guajiros usually form the bulk of the fighting force in Cuban wars; thus a better translation would be yeoman. In modern Cuba, with growing urbanisation, Guajiros are still named rural inhabitants as well as habitants of small towns ("pueblo") in contrast to urban habitants. They preserve cultural attributes as the Guajiro music, mostly from Spanish and African roots, and typical food.
In Puerto Rico, the rural inhabitants are called Jibaros.It should be noted that the term jíbaro, according to the Catholic online encyclopedia, is also the name of a tribal group in South America, it meant "mountain men." Jíbaro means "People of the Forest" in the Taíno language. So the term obviously came with them as they immigrated from South America. However "jíbaro" – as is used in Puerto Rico, is not used the same in Cuba or the Dominican Republic, which were populated with the very same Taíno people. In Cuba the word jibaro is used to denote something wild or untamed, such as "perros jibaros " or wild dogs.
The term Guajira/Guajiro, also refers to indigenous Arawak nation of the Guajira Peninsula between Venezuela and Colombia. For a small compendium of myths of this Nation please see: de Cora, Maria Manuela 1972. Kuai-Mare. Mitos Aborígenes de Venezuela. Monte Avila Editores Caracas.
Later nations in this general area
The Arawak, Caribe and other Meso American coast and the Amazonian cultures can be considered as part of a tenuous continuum of nations, linked by some shared vocabulary, ethnic links, agricultural practices, reinforced by bride abduction, and continuous exogamy. After the violence of the Spanish Conquest, and subsequent events of African Slavery and rebellion, nations and cultures with diverse amounts of Arawak ethnicity, culture, and/or traditions transmuted and arose. Some of these Nations had mixed, or even predominantly African roots and include the Cimarrón of Cuba and the Maroon (people) of Jamaica and Guyana.
The names of these three distinct cultures are transliterations of the original, apparently Taíno or Siboney root, Cimarrón. The equivalent high Taíno root may well be Jíbaro, which is a name commonly given to a perhaps related South American Nation the Shuar who have many Arawak type cultural customs, and which are said by some to have lost its language, and forced to adapt Quechua as the common language (lengua general). Whether such nations as the Garifuna, and Miskito should be included is left to academic debate.
- Island Caribs
- Cariban languages
- Garifuna people
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- Indigenous peoples in Jamaica
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- Pané, Fray Ramón. Relación de Fray Ramon de las antigüedades de los indios. Cuba primitiva. Habana: Miguel de Villa, 1883.
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- Puerto Rico, Commonwealth. 1998 Reglamento de Pesca de Puerto Rico Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales. Salvador Salas Quintana (Secretario). http://www.drna.gobierno.pr/reglamentospdf/DRNA/Reglamento%20de%20Pesca.pdf
- Rivas, Anthony T. 2000 Enigmas of Cuban Spanish Proteus, Newsletter of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators Vol. IX, No. 3 Summer 2000 http://www.najit.org/proteus/v9n3/rivas_v9n3.htm "While lacking conclusive proof, some linguists believe that the marked intonation pattern exhibited by some natives of the former Oriente province originates in Arawak, a language spoken by the indigenous Taíno people, who survived for a limited time just in this province."
- Robineau, Lionel (editor) 1991. Towards a Caribbean Pharmacopoeia. End-Caribe, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
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- Ross, Ann H. 2004 Cranial evidence of pre-contact multiple population expansions in the Caribbean Journal of Science. 40(3). 2004. 291-298. "The most recognized Caribbean population dispersal hypothesis is a direct jump from South America followed by dispersal into the Lesser Antilles and westward. This evidence primarily comes from the archaeological record, as skeletal material is scarce in the Caribbean due to generally poor preservation. This study evaluated the direct jump hypothesis along with other possible migration routes using cranial landmark data. A study of three-dimensional facial shape variation among pre-Contact Taíno groups from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Hispaniola, and pre-Contact groups from Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Florida was conducted. Cuban Taínos differed from other Caribbean Taíno groups, suggesting a dissimilar ancestry. No significant difference between the Caribbean Taíno (excluding Cuba) groups and the South American groups was observed, a result that was consistent with the archaeological record for dispersal from South America into the Lesser Antilles. Cuba was also very distinct from the Florida series, a finding that contradicts hypotheses of possible migrations across the Straits of Florida. The differentiation of the Cuban Taínos from the rest of the American and Caribbean series suggests another source of population influx."
- Rouse, Irving 1992. The Taínos. Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus. Yale University Press. New Haven and London.
- Sauer, Carl Otwin. 1966. (Fourth printing, 1992.) The Early Spanish Main. The University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01415-4
- de la Sagra, Ramón 1843. Historia física, política y natural de la Isla de Cuba, Libreria de Arthus Bertrand, Paris.
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- Suarez, Constantino 1921 Vocabulario Cubano, Libreria Cervantes, Havana and Perlado, Páez y Cía, Madrid.
- Sued Badillo, Jalil. 1985. Las Cacicas Indoantillanas, Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña 87, 1-26.
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- Vela, Enrique (editor). 1988. La navegación entre los Mayas. Arqueología Mexicana 6 (number 33, September October 1988) 4-5.
- Vespucio, Américo (circa 1454–1512), Fragments and Letters found at http://www.e-libro.net/E-libro-viejo/gratis/nvomundo.pdf http://www.unsl.edu.ar/librosgratis/gratis/nvomundo.pdf
http://www.banrep.gov.co/blaavirtual/credencial/hamerica.htm translated '.. the women go naked and are libidinous, lewd, and lustful but despite this their bodies are beautiful and clean...."
- Wilbert, Johannes1977. Navigators of the Winter Sun In: The Sea in the pre-Columbian World. Elizabeth P. Benson, editor. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C. pp. 16–44.
- Wilson, Samuel M. 1990 Hispaniola Caribbean Chiefdoms in the Age of Columbus. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa and London. ISBN 0-8173-0462-2
- Zayas y Alfonso, Alfredo 1914. "Lexografía Antillana" El Siglo XX Press, Havana.
- Hill, Jonathan D. and Fernando Santos-Granero (eds.). 2002. Comparative Arawakan Histories. Rethinking Language Family and Cultural Area in Amazonia. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago. ISBN 025027582
- Hulme. Peter 2000 Remnants of Conquest. The Island Caribs and their Visitors, 1877–1898. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-811215-7
- La Rosa Corzo, Gabino (translated by Mary Todd)  2003 Runaway Slave Settlements in Cuba: Resistance and Repression, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill ISBN 0-8078-2803-3 ISBN 0807854794
- De la Riva Herrera, Martín 2003 La Conquista de los Motilones, Tabalosos, Maynas y Jíbaros. CETA Iquitos, Perú ISBN 84-89295-05-0 ISBN 9972-9410-7-8