This page is dedicated to the Taino Culture and it's history. Much of the text is culled from many different sources. While reading the text, please keep in mind that many people have diverging ideas and hypothesis about the culture. How they arrived in the carribbean, how they lived and ultimately if they are among us today varies. The basics of the culture are fairly agreed upon. It is the nuances that are still being discussed.
A good example of that would be the language. Many of the words used in the Taino language have been, to put
it mildly, "modified" to fit the dialects of other tongues, particularly those of European origin. It is no surprise that words such as "huracan" are now "Hurricane" and "Barbacoa" is now "Barbeque". Thus, some history is still being debated just as much as the spelling and prunounciation of some of the words.
The text provided on this and other pages is far from exhaustive . Consider these a condensation of the information available in books and over the Internet.
Cueva De Los Dioses - Copyright Boriken Warrior Studios
Should you desire to seek out more information on the culture, then all you need do is click on the "Resources" tab to the right. That will take you to the page with links to many websites dedicated to the taino culture, their language, history and current events.
Aji Aya Bombe
(Better Dead Than a Slave)
The Taino society consisted of a cast system. The system had three levels as follows.
1. Nitainos - These were the caciques (chiefs) and noblemen
2. Bohiques - Priests and medicine men
3 . Naborias - The common worker, farmer etc
The Taino village is called a "yucayeque" (juka-jeh-keh). The cacique was the chief of the yucayeque. The yucayeque was a town in itself with the Cacique as it's head. in today's terms, he would be the mayor. In fact, the government of the United States of America was setup based on the indians form of government. Consider a yucayeque as a province headed by the cacique. there were many of these on the island. There was one supreme chief that ruled over all. At the time of Spaniards arrival, this supreme chief was based in the Southwest area of Boriken (Puerto Rico).
The Native American method of governance was used as a template in the creation of the United States Government. The statesmen creating the new country realized that the Native Americans already had an amazing system of self governance and borrowed from that.
The Tainos, as explained above, lived in defined groups and areas. The yucayeques had at it's center a ceremonial court much like what many towns today have as their central "Plaza", the towns center. This court is called a batey (bah-tei) and had many uses. Some of these uses consisted of the areyto ceremonies as well as ball games which they played. The cacique's residence is called a caney and was located at the head of the batey. It was the only structure which was square in construction and the largest in the yucayeque. The batey was large and rectangular in construction. The rest of the village consisted of round huts which are called bohios (boh-e-o). These bohios were constructed around the batey.