puerto ricotravels

Tainos and the Spanish Colonial Genocide

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This landscape is in Jayuya, in the mountains of central Puerto Rico. It’s a special, even sacred, place where some of the last remaining artifacts of the original island inhabitants, the Tainos, are located. Such as the cemi (now a museum), a structure built by the Tainos to honor their sacred beliefs. And petroglyphs (stone carvings) as well.

The story of how these people, their culture, and their land were destroyed is not uncommon in the history of colonial exploration and conquerors that happened all across the world. Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards arrived in what we know today as the Caribbean, and out of the people they didn’t brutally and unfairly massacre or kill from bringing disease, they enslaved men, and took the women as “wives” (read sex slaves). The Tainos lived in a way where the political power stemmed from the matriarchal lineage and their culture was very advanced, ethical and diplomatic overall. Their downfall? They didn’t have guns or resistance to European diseases…

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