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For the language family, see Ciboney languages.

The Ciboney or Siboney were an indigenous people of Cuba. The historical Ciboney appear to have been a Western Taíno group living in central Cuba during the early 16th century. However, confusion in the historical sources led 20th-century scholars to apply the name "Ciboney" to the non-Taíno Guanahatabey of western Cuba and various archaic cultures around the Caribbean.


Over the years, many theories have been brought forth as to how the Ciboney people arrived to the Caribbean. Many of these theories have a weak foundation due to insufficient evidence. It is explained in the book Liberties Lost: Caribbean Indigenous Societies and Slave Systems (2004), "The most popular view now is that the Ciboney were from pre-farming cultures that entered the Antilles from South America, not as one ethnic group, but as waves of different migrants over a very long period of time."[1] Study of genetic specimens seems to support this South American origin, and possibly Central American, as well.[2]

When the Europeans arrived, the Ciboney had already been driven by their powerful Taíno neighbors to western Hispaniola (Haiti) and western Cuba.[3] The Ciboney of Cuba and Hispaniola were culturally different from each other; those of Cuba went by the name Guanajatabey. Within a century after European contact, the Ciboney were extinct.[citation needed]

The Ciboney languages are unattested apart from a single word of Guanajatabey.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excerpt (pdf)[dead link], Beckles, Hilary McD., and Shepherd, Verene A. "The Indigenous Caribbean People." Liberties Lost: The Indigenous Caribbean and Slave Systems. Cambridge UP, 2004. 5. Print.
  2. ^ Lalueza-Fox, C.; Gilbert, M.T.P.; Martinez-Fuentes, A.J.; Calafell, F.; Bertranpetit, J. (2003). "Mitochondrial DNA from pre-Columbian Ciboneys from Cuba and the prehistoric colonization of the Caribbean". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 121 (2): 97. doi:10.1002/ajpa.10236. PMID 12740952. 
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online, Ciboney. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 03, 2010.