Countries that were once colonies went through various stages of evolution in order to develop economically, politically, and culturally while gaining independence. Cuba, a former colony of Spain, has changed drastically throughout the years. Although in some cases, colonialism has had a positive effect on the country in the area regarding education and health care and on the other hand, has created an economic gap between the citizens. The government, social structure, and economy in the country can be compared and contrasted throughout the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial years.
Knowledge of the native peoples in Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, prior to the colonial era derives from the accounts of contemporary Spanish writers and from archaeological examinations as oppose to written records since there were no evidence of them. The earliest knowledge of individuals immigrating to Cuba dates back to around 4200 BC. After arriving in four waves of migration from continental America, three different indigenous groups inhabited the island: the Tainos, the Ciboneys, and the Guanajatabeyes.
The first tribe, the Guanajatabeyes, arrived in the south coast region from North America. They were mainly food and fruit gatherers, and lived on a diet primarily consisting of sea mullusks. Coming from Central and North America, the Ciboneys had evidence of their settlement found around the north and centre of the island where they were hunters and gatherers, living on fish and other seafood, birds, and small rodents. Although they did not cultivate plants, they gathered wild fruit. The largest group of natives in Cuba, the Taino, arrived in the 1400s when they would fish, hunt, and grow fruits, beans, and corn. Tobacco, a chief export of the Cuban economy, was also introduced to the island by this group of migrants.
People: Government, Social Structure, Religion
Unlike the clear social structure and government that prevails in today’s society both aspects varied and solely depended on the village in this era. Their society was communal and organized around small families. In larger communities, there was an incipient class structure established. Each village typically had a headman whose duty was to represent the village in situations dealing with other tribes, family disputes, and defense. While larger communities gave some delegation of responsibility to the senior men, the economic activities were frequently organized along family lines. The Tainos, however, can be divided into three distinct social classes: the chiefs, the small middle class, and commoners. The individuals in these communities practiced religious traditions focused on fertility deities that were linked to crop growth.
Impact on Cuba’s Future
Although the indigenous people are a part of the history of Cuba, they had little impact on the political, economic, and social development of the island. The short time period in which they...