The history of Tainos is vast. I will admit that I do not know as much as I should know about them. This fact ultimately bothers me. So I will stick to what I do know, which is the point of where I can have discussions with people and encourage people to learn about their past. This is how I know what my limitations. Let me preface this by saying that I understand and acknowledge my Ecuadorian side, but I will only talk about Tainos and not the Incas. The reason being is I need to do more reading on the Incan Empire before I can blog about it.
What I know about Tainos is that they are the indigenous people of Puerto Rico. Now I know that there are other islands within the Caribbean as Quisqueya (currently Dominican Republic/Haiti) and the Bahamas in which they inhabited, but for the sake of this blog, I will stick with what I know and talk about Puerto Rico.
From what I have gathered, information about Tainos in Puerto Rico, before Columbus’ arrival, is scarce at best. There are carvings and artifacts that can be traced to this once proud people. Once Columbus arrived to the “new world”, Tainos quickly faded out of existence due to disease and the hard working conditions due to slavery. It was so bad that there was a royal decree to emancipate the remaining population of Tainos in 1520 so they would not go into extinction. This lead to influx of African slaves into the Puerto Rico.
Interestingly enough, the men that came from Spain to settle into Puerto Rico and the rest of the islands did not bring women with them. Of course there is the old tale that women are bad luck on boats, which lead many to take Taino women as their wives, thus leading to the birth to mestizo children.
I will say that the word “Borinquen” is the name that the Taino’s called the Island (“Borikén”). It was later called Puerto Rico by traders and such as the island grew in popularity. The icon that I have on this blog is the Taino symbol for the coquí, which is a frog that is native to the island as well.
Let me just say that as I think about this, I just shake my head because this is the kind of history I would have loved to learn in history class. My knowledge of these things are most self taught in books that I have read over the years. I will always try my best to learn more.