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The Mythology Of The Taino Essay

1648 words - 7 pages

For many years, throughout the history of humanity, many parts of the world have been changed as a result of take over. Colonization is defined as the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination of indigenous people. Although many argue that colonization is a natural path a country must take in order to develop and come out on top, it is also important to understand that the process if colonizing a nation or country means grave loss to the culture of the indigenous people. With history being key indication, we must understand that all actions have consequences and through learning how people and culture are suppressed and silenced in order for those in power to turn profits, we can also learn to prevent such horrendous acts towards humanity. Thinking about imperialism in a classroom in the United States, almost immediately the name Christopher Columbus comes to mind, who has become the icon of the conquest escapades in the “New World”. In this essay, the culture of indigenous peoples, namely the Taino, and their encounter with the Spanish colonizers, will be reviewed to better understand how the Taino were wiped out almost entirely (or so it is believed).
The encounter of the Taino with Spaniards, namely Christopher Columbus and his men, marked the beginning of their demise. Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in northwestern Italy. Under the orders of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Columbus (accidently) led voyages to the New World, or what they thought was a new route to Asia, and ended up widening the colonization of Spain (Wolf, 1982). Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola, initiated the process of Spanish colonization, which foreshadowed the general European colonization of the "New World."
Columbus landed on an unknown island in the Caribbean in October of 1492. Upon arriving on the island, he set up banners in order to claim the land for the Spanish Monarchs. His interactions and perceptions with the Taino people were what initiated the launch of Spain’s colonization in the America’s. Unlike the admiration the English expressed upon meeting the indigenous people upon arrival (Hans, 1993), the result of the Spanish and Taino cultures meeting was plagued by many misconceptions on both sides. Columbus had predisposed beliefs and views toward the indigenous people through reading what previous explorers wrote, his own expectations of this “simplistic” culture, and by judging them in accordance with the Catholic belief, and influences of Western Europe at the time. The Taino also had misconstrued views of their visitors upon meeting them. Having very heavy religious beliefs in mythology, the Spaniards were seen as God-like to the indigenous people and were welcoming, maybe too much so, to these newcomers. For the Spaniards...

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