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Taino Genocide


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  • Taino populations have been documented in Cuba as recent as the 20th century. DNA studies show the average Puerto Rican as having between 15% and 23% Taino genes. Some cases are even higher. Taino culture while not pervasive can still be found in the country side and remote areas. Taino survival does not lessen the fact of genocide. However to declare us all as dead becomes a form of paper genocide. This was done in Puerto Rico where the last census counts 2,300 indians in 1778 and twenty years later another census simply does not include an indian category.
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Taino Genocide

  1. 1. THE TAÍNO GENOCIDE Social Studies for 9th E.G.B. Teacher: Mauricio Torres
  2. 2. "They...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things... They would make fine servants... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” Christopher Columbus
  3. 3. BACKGROUND• Columbus arrives in the Caribbean (Hispaniola)• He meets the Taíno and is welcomed by them.• He makes some of them slaves, and finally decides to have the majority of them pay tribute.
  4. 4. THE TAÍNO PEOPLE• They were the pre-Columbine inhabitants of Caribbean territories that now a days we know as the Bahamas and the Antilles.• In Hispaniola (modern day Haití and Dominican Republic), the island on which Columbus arrived.• They had a ruling “chief” called the Cacique. • Each Cacique had power over it‟s own stretch of land. • They were paid tribute by others. • They enjoyed special privileges.
  5. 5. BRIEF FACTS ON CULTURE• The Taíno had two classes: • Naborias (commoners) • Nitainos (nobles)• They lived on agriculture, but they also hunted and as seafaring people, they fished too.• Some of them practiced Polygamy.• The Tainos lived in yucayeques (cities).• They lacked written language.• Their religion was based on worshiping gods, spirits and ancestors.
  6. 6. THE “MEETING OF TWO CULTURES” • When Columbus arrived in the Caribbean, the population of the Taínos was around the 8 million, according to Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. • Columbus called them “indians” and the name stuck. • They traded gold, feathers and cotton for mirrors, combs and spoons. • He took some of them back to Spain, as proof of his findings.
  7. 7. COLUMBUS, THE TYRANT"I found very many islands filled with people • He demanded from the Taino who werewithout number, and all of them I have taken over 14 years of age, to deliver a tributepossession for their Highnesses... of gold every three months.As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first • If he didn‟t deliver, he had a secondIsland which I found, I took some of the nativesby force in order that they might learn and might choice: twenty five pounds of cotton.give me information on whatever there is in these • If not, he had both hands cut off andparts" left to die.Christopher Columbus • He enslaved many and executed many more. By 1496, the population had been reduced from as many as eight million to around three million.
  8. 8. DETAILED ATROCITIES• Some Taino were killed directly as punishments for „crimes‟ such as not paying tribute to the invaders.• Columbus and his men are documented by the chronicles of Las Casas, to have partaken in: • Mass hangings, roasting people on spits, burnings at the stake and even hacking young children to death and feeding them to dogs as punishment for the most minor of crimes.• The Spanish masters massacred the natives, sometimes hundreds at a time for sport, making bets on who could split a man in two, or cut a head off in one blow.
  9. 9. AFTER COLUMBUS “By the time he finally left in 1504, the Taino had been reduced to around 100,000 people arguably making Columbus a war criminal by today’s standards and guilty of committing some of the worst atrocities against another race in history.”
  10. 10. DEFENDING COLUMBUS• Defenders of Columbus argue that a large amount of the victims were killed by disease.• However they fail to recognize that most of these diseases were caused by • Poor living conditions in forced labour camps. • Deprived of their crops and fields, many fell prey to dysentery and typhus. • Were worked to death or were left to starve to death.
  11. 11. 500+ YEARS LATER • Today, the Tainos no longer exist. • Historiographers in Latin America are revising the work of Historians and challenging many established views on the events after October 12th.
  12. 12. ASK YOURSELF• Infer: • After the first friendly meeting with the Tainos, why do you think Columbus decided to turn into an “unfriendly guest”?• Analyze: • Why do you think people emphasize so much on disease as the main reason for the extinction of the Tainos? • Read the quotes from Columbus‟ letters. Do you think he felt superior to the natives?• Understand: • What is Genocide?• Relate: • Can we call this a “Latin American Holocaust”?
  13. 13. ASSIGNMENT! • Evaluate: • Being a Latin American, and knowing that in your veins there is mestizo blood, think on the meaning that this date has for you: October 12th (which remembers the landing of Columbus in America). • What are your feelings? • Pride? Grief? Anger? Joy? • Type two paragraphs on how people look back at this date and identify it with: • Genocide or “the meeting of two cultures”? • Start with a first draft in class!
  14. 14. BIBLIOGRAPHY• Burstein, S. M., & Shek, R. (2012). World History (Teacher´s Edition) (1st Edition ed.). (H. McDougal, Ed.) Orlando, Florida, US.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.• Wikipedia. (n.d.). Taino. Retrieved May 14, 2012, from Wikipedia: (information taken from sources).• Renius, A. (n.d.). Christopher columbus and the Genocide of the Taino. Retrieved May 14, 2012, from Socyberty: genocide-of-the-taino-nation/#ixzz1unrqn12h• Latin American Studies. (n.d.). Taino Conquest. Retrieved May 14, 2012, from Latin American Studies:• Images taken from