A Comparison of the Tainos and Mayans
Throughout Caribbean history, over a span of more than seven thousand years, different groups of people like the Taino, Kalinago and Maya brought their culture- a range of beliefs, practices and traditions which integrated to form the foundations of the rich Caribbean culture that still exists today, despite the fact that there was mass destruction and deterioration of the cultures upon European arrival in 1492.
The Tainos and Mayans, two very distinct groups of people and culture, can be objectively compared with their similarities and differences being highlighted in the aspects of politics, society and economy.
The Tainos as well as the Mayans lived in theocratic societies; which means their religious leaders were also their political leaders. From this it can be understood that religion and politics went hand in hand. Their social structures were hierarchical with the leaders’, (Cacique- Taino, King- Maya) positions being hereditary. However, it should be noted that whilst the both leaders’ positions were hereditary, the Cacique’s position was matrilineal whereas the Mayan King’s position was patrilineal. In general, Taino culture followed the system of matrilineal inheritance, as the Cacique’s heir had to come from within the female side of his family. The power/ status of the women in Mayan society were not to the extent to which it was with the Tainos, as there was no matrilineal inheritance of power. It was also illustrated that women were the driving force in Tainos society and “…there is evidence of the rise of power of female caciques. An example comes from Hispaniola where Aracoana… took the chieftainship of Xaragua when her brother Behecio died. “
The political power of the Mayan King in comparison to the Cacique differed. For the cacique his leadership status was not based on wealth, military prowess or the power of personality. He was a community leader with significant social, not political or...