From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Jibaro)
Jump to: navigation, search

Ethnology/Etymology: xibalo or Can Xibalo (Native ethnia from Boriken Caribbean Island, from the book: Puerto Rico: La gran mentira, 2008.Baez, U. Martinez, H. N.).

Monumento al Jíbaro Puertorriqueño.jpg
Nationality Puerto Rican
Occupation Agricultural land tenants, sharecroppers, fieldworkers

Jíbaro is a transliteration form of the indigenous word xibal or xibalo (read history). It is a term commonly used in Puerto Rico, as well as other Latin American countries, to refer to mountain-dwelling, natives originaries from the jiba of the ancestral line of the Great Can or Ban. peasants,[1] but in modern times it has gained a broader cultural meaning.[2]


Puerto Rican jíbaro in a sugar-cane field during harvest, ca. 1941

In Puerto Rico, the word "Jíbaro" has been used to refer to the country people, the people who farm the land in a traditional way. To know the origin of the word, the culture and the way of life of the jibaro must be known and analyzed in the context of history and anthropology. The two colonization periods that occurred to natives of this island must be considered, as well as the way of life of jibaro people, what they people grow for food and how, how were their houses, utensils, beds, cooking ways, clothes, and ways of talk at the moment when American troops invaded the island. It must be consider how this historical, cultural and political process and periods has affected the way of talking, the words of their language, now mixed with the Spanish, and the new ways of life after the assimilation took its way on.

The first linguistic and ethimological study made on jibaro words was done by Oscar Lamourt Valentin. After his experiences among natives of Chiapas, he decided to come to his homeland of Lares, Puerto Rico, to continue studies in history, native language, oral tradition and customs of the jibaro. He interviewed various jibaros and made an etymological study. He analyzed many words used by jibaros, as well as many words already known to be native or "tayno". After doing his multidisciplinary studies, he compiled the first etymological dictionary of the jibaro language. He discovered the relationship with the yucatecan maya language. Huana Naboli Martinez and Uahtibili Baez continued the linguistic study initiated by O. Lamourt. They have presented the studies at various forums, as Caribe Plurilingue at University of Puerto Rico, and in a book titled Puerto Rico: la gran mentira.

The linguistic analysis of the word jibaro is as follows: JIBARO, derives from the term Caníbaro or CanXibalo, also xibalo, since the x and j was used for the same phonem. But as a derived form, from the native language of the people of the Caribbean, Carib or Caniba, this word had suffer transliteration as well as several misinterpretations, as it had happened to the native culture, language and history of the people of the "Islas de los Canibales" (as it appears in the 1545 Map of Alonso de Santa Cruz). Used in Puerto Rico or Boriken, to refers to "La Gente de la Montaña" or "mountain people", being jibaro or uajiro is to be natives or descendants from the jiba of the main caracoel, one of the "hermanitos gemelos" ("twin brothers"), recalled in the native mythology, the one called Temiban caracoel, also transcribed from the chronicle as Deminan. As recalled the native oral story, on Temiban caracoel's back growth a jiba. Then, one of his brothers hit his back with a thunder axe. Then, from the jiba it came the turtle women, CaUahNa (Caguana, in Spanish), whose symbol can be found carved in the Ceremonial Center of Caguana in Utuado, a native sacred area. So, as for the native people of Boriken or other island of the Caribbean, jibaro, or uajiro is the same, which is xibalo, and it means "to be descendants from the male of the jiba", which is the mountain or dzemi (cemi), form where the native people came. All these native terms can be define by yucatecan maya,as it was exposed on the linguistic and etymological studies of Oscar Lampurt Valentin, Huana N. Martinez and Uahtibili Baez, native descendants of Boriken. They analyzed more than 500 words, common "tahino" words and others that are adjudicated to Spanish or African origin, as bakine, yanhotau. Oscar Lamourt Valentin was the first linguistic and anthropologists to analyze the word jibaro with other words from the jibaro language taking in consideration the historical and anthropological context. The native of Boriken are the jibaro. The word taino or tayno as it was obtain form the chronicle, refers to a condition or an expression not to the ethnic name for the native group. And this term was used by archaeologist as a word for classification purposes. So, it must be clarify that the word tayno does not refers to the ethnic group that have inhabited the island, but the word jibaro is the right word to be used to refer to the natives of Boriken. Many new analyses had came since this study was exposed, but none of them has the strong data to be considered, so these are mere speculations.

Modern usage of the word[edit]

Since at least the 1920s[3] the term "jíbaro" has a more positive connotation in Puerto Rican culture, proudly associated with a cultural ideology as tough pioneers of Puerto Rico.[4]

However, the term occasionally also has a negative connotation. A jíbaro can mean someone who is considered ignorant or impressionable due to a lack of a more European style of education, as are many country or "hillbilly" people of many other cultures. Despite this negative connotation, the image of the jíbaro represents an ideology of a "traditional Puerto Rican": hard-working, simple, independent, and prudently wise.[5]

Colloquially, the jíbaro imagery serves as a representation of the roots of the modern day Puerto Rican people and symbolizes the strength of such traditional values as living simply and properly caring for homeland and family.[5]

Uses of the word in other countries[edit]

  • In Cuba there exists a word similar to jíbaro, Guajiro. In Cuba and the Dominican Republic a jíbaro can also refer to a runaway dog.[1]
  • In Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela, Xivaro, or Gibaro, which is pronounced similar to jíbaro, was a name given to the mountain natives of mentioned countries by the Spaniards and Portuguese.[6]
  • In Ecuador, givaro is the indomitable indigenous or country persons who are endlessly elusive to the white man.[1]
  • In Peru, the word jíbaro refers to country or mountain inhabitants.
  • In the 18th century Mexico, a jíbaro was a fable of a child born of a lobo (Wolf) and a china (Chinese), actually that is the child of a mixed-race father (the son of an indigenous man and a black woman) and a mixed-race mother (the daughter of a white man and an indigenous woman).[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • El Jibaro. Puerto Rico Off The Beaten Path. Page 157. Accessed January 16, 2011.


  1. ^ a b c d Enrique Vivoni Farage and Sylvia Álvarez Curbelo. Hispanofilia: Arquitectura y Vida en Puerto Rico, 1900–1950. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. 1998. Page 258. ISBN 0-8477-0252-9.
  2. ^ Tijana Ilich. Puerto Rican Music – Jíbaro Music – Seis, Aguinaldo, Bomba, Plena. About.com
  3. ^ Puerto Rico, Antonio Paoli y España: Aclaraciones y Críticas. Néstor Murray-Irizarry. Footnote #26 (José A. Romeu, "Recordando noches de gloria con el insigne tenor Paoli", El Mundo, 31 de noviembre de 1939. p. 13) Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  4. ^ ¡Un agricultor de nueve años de edad! Carmen Cila Rodríguez. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b ¡Un agricultor de nueve años de edad!: Carlos Emanuel Guzmán, un jíbaro de nueva estirpe. Carmen Cila Rodríguez. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 29, Issue 1443. 27 July 2011. Page 6. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  6. ^ Maurizio Gnerre. Jivaroan linguistic and cultural tradition: an Amazonian-Andean sedimentation (Word Document). Università degli Studi di Pavi
  • Puerto Rico: la gran mentira. 2008. Uahtibili Baez Santiago. Huana Naboli Martinez.