Haiti's Earliests Recorded History

Posted by hougansydney.com on Saturday, December 27, 2014 Under: Haitian Natives

The recorded history of Haiti began on December 5th 1492, when the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus discovered an island on what is called today the Caribbean Sea. The discovery of the Island was accidental; Santa Maria, the flagship, had sank on Môle Saint Nicholas, a town located on present day Haiti's northern coast. He claimed it for the Spanish Crown and named it "La Isla Spañola".  It was populated by a group of people who called themselves Taino and/or Arawak, both meaning 
"The Nobles" in their language. 

They numbered over 3 millions. They also had a name for their land; they called it Ayiti. (Land of high mountains). They also called it in some parts, Quisqueya (Mother of all Islands) and Bohío which meant (The rich villages). The Arawaks already had a very well structured society divided among 5 Caciquats or Kingdoms. Higuey, Xaragua, Maguanà, Maguà and Marién. 

Xaragua, the south-west part of the Island was the result of an emergence of two small Caciquats. Zui and Yaquimo; it became the largest portion of the Island.  Each Caciquat had a Cacique as their leader. In fact, it was one of the Caciques, Guacanagari, who helped Christopher Columbus build the first settlement in the New World; the latter was named La Navidad, Christmas, because it was founded on Christmas day. Christopher went on to note on his journal.

"I have ordered a tower and fortress to be constructed and, a large cellar, not because I believe there is any necessity on accounts of the natives"; he continues." I am certain the people I have with me could subjugate all this island...as most of the population are naked and without arms and very cowardly". 

 But, Bartolomé de-las Casas, a priest who traveled with Christopher Columbus, would later described the people of Spañola as follow in his book. "

"I have declared and demonstrated openly and concluded, from chapter 22 to the end of this whole book, that these people are humans, so far as is possible by the natural and human way and without the light of faith had their republics, places, towns, and cities most abundant and well provided for, and did not lack anything to live politically and socially, and attain and enjoy civil happiness...and they equaled many nations of this world that are renowned and considered civilized, and they surpassed many others, and to none were they inferior. Among those they equaled were the Greeks and the Romans, and they surpassed them by many good and better customs. They surpassed also the English and the French and some of the people of our own Spain; and they were incomparably superior to countless others, in having good customs and lacking many evil ones"

The Taino/Arawak natives were mainly peasants, poets, dancers and musicians. They called their musicians Areytos and they were known to have regular festivals.
Never in their life had the Tainos seen ships as big as the Spanish's, or new type of animals such as horses and dogs; the Spaniards also impressed them with some very powerful weapons. Much more effective than the Tainos would ever have. They were so impressed by everything that they considered the Spaniards to be powerful friends sent from the gods to help them fight invasion of neighbors from other Caribbean islands who were warriors. and, they brought them the best they had; crops, parrots, handcrafts and most importantly, gold. 
The same gold that would later be the cause of their complete genocide.

In : Haitian Natives 

Tags: natives genocides in the americas  natives genocides in haiti  taino  arawak 

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