History Essay

329 WordsMar 11, 20122 Pages
tAINO(arawaks) Columbus and his crew, landing on an island in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492 were the first Europeans to encounter the Taíno people. Columbus wrote: They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will..They took great delight in pleasing us...They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal….Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people..They love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing. It was Columbus who called the Taínos "Indians", an identification that has grown to encompass all the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The word "Indian" was an invention of Christopher Columbus, who erroneously thought that he had arrived in the East Indies. The misnomer remains, and has served to imagine a kind of racial or cultural unity for the autochthonous peoples of the Americas. The unitary idea of "Indians" was not one shared by most indigenous peoples, who saw themselves as diverse. But the "Indian" gave Europeans a fixed person who could be labeled (as "primitive" or "heathen," for example), given a legal designation, and classified. Thus, the word "Indian" gave Europeans a valuable tool for colonization. Today, many native peoples have proudly embraced an imagined spiritual, ethnic, or cultural unity of "Indians." The indigenous people he encountered in his first voyage described themselves "Taíno", meaning "good" or "noble", to differentiate themselves from Island-Caribs. This name applied to all the Island Taínos including those in the Lesser Antilles. Locally, the Taínos referred to themselves by the name of their location. For example, those in Puerto Rico are known as Boricua (which means people from the island of the valiant noble lords) their island was called Borike'n

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