By D. H. Figueredo, Frank Argote-Freyre
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Extra resources for A Brief History of the Caribbean (Brief History)
Taino Martyrs and Heroes Upon realizing Spanish intentions, the Tainos and the Caribs rebelled, beginning with the destruction of Fort Navidad in Hispaniola in 1493. Several leaders emerged: the princess Anacaona, the chief Hatuey, and the rebel leader Enriquillo. In 1503 a Taino princess named Anacaona reigned in the western region of Hispaniola, where she sought shelter after her husband was kidnapped by Columbus in 1492 and perished en route to Spain. Eager to end Anacaona’s rule, Spanish governor Nicolás de Ovando tricked her into meeting him in September 1503.
Initially, homebound trips were made by solitary Spanish merchant ships. After 1523, when French pirates seized a vessel loaded with gold, Spain revised its sailing policies and developed a convoy system, known as the flota, to deliver goods to the Caribbean and transport New World treasures to Spain. In the spring, one convoy of about 30 vessels sailed for Mexico guarded by Spanish ships known as galeones, or galleons, which could both transport goods and serve as warring vessels. In the summer a second fleet sailed for Panama.
There were also evil spirits, called maboyas, who hid in the forest and came out at night to hurt people, which is why some Tainos were afraid of the dark. The Tainos believed in life after death, and thus personal objects, such as jewelry, were interred with the deceased. As part of their religious rituals they induced a hallucinogenic state by smoking tobacco. There were dances and musical activities, called areyto, that rendered tribute to the deities. Held on a field or a ceremonial plaza, the areyto used a combination of narration, poetry, singing, and dancing to tell events from the past or comment on more recent events such as a birth or a death.