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originally posted by: halfoldman
The Taino (as far as I understand it) is now a collective name for the original inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. This would include the bigger islands of the Antiles, like Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. In the past history books they were also called the Caribs and Arawak - a distinction based by some anthropologists on language families, but in history the friendly or submissive Indians were termed "Arawak", and the more resistant "Caribs". For decades, perhaps centuries, the Taino were described as numerous, numbering in the millions on the main islands alone. On the bigger islands they formed several states, with a high degree of civilization. The official history says that they were wiped out by the Spanish within 10 years of Columbus' arrival, and they were the first Native Americans he met. What the Spanish did to them makes for heartbreaking reading, and they also endured the first wave of smallpox and other imported diseases. Within a decade of conquest, they were so reduced in number that African slaves were imported as slave labour.
The notion of Native American survival in the Caribbean has been a somewhat romantic pursuit, and much literature focused on the "Caribs" on the Virgin Islands and Dominica.
But now it seems that survival amongst certain families is almost proven, mainly in Puerto Rico, but also in Cuba and some other places.
Nevertheless, the false notion of extinction still prohibits the surviving Taino from getting a proper reserve, land rights or recognition. Some academics remain skeptical, so I'd like to ask: are the Taino extinct or not?
The "extinct people" dance:
Well they certainly seem enthusiastic about things:
[edit on 30-5-2010 by halfoldman]