"So tractable, so peaceable, are these people that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy." 1)
"The King [the leader or "chief"] observes such a wonderful estate in such a dignified manner that it is a pleasure to see. Neither better people nor land can there be. The houses and villages are so pretty. They love their neighbors as themselves and they have the sweetest speech in the world and they are gentle and they are always laughing" 1) -The Old Navigator, Christopher Columbus-
Columbus ran his flagship, the Santa Maria, aground on the island of Hispaniola on Christmas Eve in 1492. The Taino people helped rescue Columbus and his men and helped salvage the shipwrecked Santa Maria. The Taino people helped Columbus dismantle the wrecked flagship and erect a fort with the salvaged timbers. 40)
In his journals Columbus wrote of the peaceful, generous nature of the Taino People. He noted their language did not have a word for war. 64) He named them Indios, and referred to the Taino People as, "Children of God." But he also wrote, "I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased." 1) Columbus also noted that the Tanio People, "....should be good and intelligent servants." 71).
"Now I have ordered my men to build a tower and a fort. Not that I believe it to be necessary for it is obvious that with these men that I bring, I could subdue all of this island, since the people are naked [without armor] and without arms. But it is right that this tower be made so that with love and fear they will obey." -Christopher Columbus- 1493.
When Columbus left Hispaniola he rewarded the Taino people by kidnaping 25 of them, and selling the handful of survivors into slavery. 1). 40).
"In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil wood which could be sold."
-Christopher Columbus, 1496, in a letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella - 1)
On Columbus's second voyage, he returned with 17 heavily armed ships 1500 men, cannon, guns, crossbows, and attack dogs. All of which he used to fulfill his wishes of conquest of these "Children of God." After his attempts of conquest and enslavement were met with resistance his descriptions of these people became less complementary. 39) 1) 64)
The Taino People were forced to pay a stipend to the Spanish. All Taino People living in the gold mining districts that were over the age of 14 were required to produce three ounces of gold, four times a year. 39) 1)
Michele de Cuneo, a companion and compatriot of Columbus wrote in 1495 about Columbus' 1494 trip to the interior of San Salvador, "..... his desire to search for gold, was the main reason he had started on so great a voyage full of so many dangers." 1)
Columbus took care in his negotiations with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to reserve 10% of all profits for himself. 39)
"Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to paradise." 39) -Christopher Columbus-
Other Taino People were levied taxes of food, cotton, and forced sex. Columbus would casually note in his journals that young girls of the ages 9 to 10 were the most desired by his men. 1) A story recorded by Michele de Cuneo is frightening proof of this abomination. After Columbus and his men fought a battle on Santa Cruz with a small band of Native People, Columbus presented Michele de Cuneo with a captured Taino girl that de Cuneo described as, "....most beautiful." The young maiden was taken by de Cuneo to his cabin where the young woman defended herself so fiercely that de Cuneo wrote, "...I wished I had never started. But to tell you the end of it, I seized a rope and beat her well. She cried out in such a way that you would not believe it! Finally we reached an agreement...." 40)
For a more detailed account of the Spanish legacy of rape and sexual exploitation go directly to:
THE LEGEND OF ITABA, THE CRYING INDIAN MAIDEN OF JATIBONICU http://www.taino-tribe.org/page3.html
Failure to produce tribute to the Spanish brought swift and terrible punishment. Those that did not comply were given an "attitude adjustment" that consisted of removal of their nose, ear, hand or foot. Those that actively resisted were burned alive. The Taino People were even forced to carry their oppressors, to spare the Spanish the drudgery of walking. 1)
Under Columbus thousands of Taino People were sent back to Europe in servitude, the remainder were enslaved to the Spanish invaders. 1) 64)
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