Father" in Taíno:
[from Prehistoria de Puerto Rico, Dr. Cayetano
Coll y Toste]
The taínos were bronze-colored, median in stature and had dark, flowing, coarse hair.They had dark,large eyes, slightly obliqued. Males and single women were naked while married women wore a cotton skirt caled a nagua.
The Taínos were divided in three social classes: the naborias or workers, the nitaínos or chiefs and noblemen and the bohiques or priests and medicine men.The cacique or guare was the chief of a yucayeque or village.The caciques were under one supreme chief who at the time of the discovery lived in the Southwest of the island.
The Taínos lived in a defined place and in groups.The central plaza of the yucayeques was the batey where the areytos and the ball games were performed. The caciques house or caney was in front of the caney and the bujius of the nitaínos and naborias were around. The caney was rectangular and larger while the bujíus were smaller and circular in shape.
The furniture were sparse- jamacas or hammocks, seats used by the chiefs, the dujos beds made of cane and called coy.
The taínos fished and hunted but their ocupation was mainly agriculture.They had plantations near to the villages, called conucos.
They cultivated the yuca, aje(batata), maisis(corn), maní(peanuts), tabaco, yayama(pineapple). Cotton was abundant. From the yuca they made a bread called casabe and by fermenting it they obtained an intoxicating brew, the uiku.
The Taínos believed in two spirits or Gods:Yukiyú(Yocahu), god of good and Juracán, god of evil.Yukiyú lived in a mountain in the northeast, (now El Yunque) and Juracán in Sibuqueira(Guadalupe), the land of its enemies, the Caribs. Juracán was responsible for storms, earthquakes and bad crops; Yocahu was an inmortal being with no beginning..
The main entertainments of the Taínos were the dance, music and ballgames. The ball games were played in the bateyes or in big ceremonial centers lined with monoliths such as the ones in Caguana(Utuado) and Tibes.They enjoyed dances(araguaco). To accompany their dances and areytos they had instruments such as maracas, güiro and flutes made from cane or bones.The areytos were important happenings in the life of the yucayeque. Through them the history of the village and its heroes was preserved.
The Taínos believed in in life after death and they buried their dead carefully placing food and water in the tombs so the spirit could use it in its journey.They would place in the tomb the cemi of the dead.The dead would be placed in a position with the knees at the level of the chest and the head in between.The caciques were buried with their possesions and treasures.
The number of Taíno words that persist in the vocabulary of the Puerto Rican people is extensive. Names of plants, trees and fruits include the maní, leren, ají, yuca, mamey, pajuil, pitajaya,cupey, tabonuco and ceiba. Names of fish,animals and birds include the mucaro, guaraguao, iguana, cobo, carey, jicotea, guabina, manati, buruquena and juey.Other objects and instruments include the güiro, bohío, batey, caney, hamaca, nasa, petate, coy, barbacoa, batea,, cabuya, casabe and canoa.
The Spaniards treated severely the indian population, forcing their
work in mines and construction as well as in agriculture.They did not address
the rights of that race that was the owner of their land and that so cordially
had received them.Despite their eventual rebellion against the Spaniards
the dissapearance of the Taínos turned out to be extreme and fast.
Unused to slave labor conditions and exposed for the first time to European
diseases for which they had no immunity, the Taíno population was
rapidly decimated. By the late 1500's the Indian population as an ethnic
group had disappeared although with extensive intermarriage with the Spanish
and African populations the Taino became a permanent part of the island's