Having run away, I will jump from the cliff ...
By the time the Europeans arrived on the Antilles, there were two Indian tribes living there - the Caribs and the Taino. Although they were related, there were many differences between nations. The former were great warriors, the latter preferred to solve problems not with the help of weapons, but using diplomacy. And since the aggressive campaign of the Europeans began with the Antilles, it was these tribes that laid the warpath sprinkled with their own blood.
The Spaniards, having appeared on the islands, behaved as befits a “civilized” person. They, by and large, did not even try to establish contact with the locals. Indians were perceived as parasites, which had to be exterminated in order to liberate fertile lands. The missionaries who arrived along with the conquerors proved to be powerless. The Carib faith was unshakable. However, this attitude of the Indians to the Spaniards was just at hand. Hiding behind the name of their god, they began the extermination of the red-skinned population of the Antilles.
The Caribs, the inhabitants of the island of Grenada, did not surrender without a fight. Foreigners who wanted to take away their homeland, the Indians met sharpened weapons. But what could reed spears do against swords and firearms? However, the resistance of the Indians, to the surprise of the conquerors, quickly suppressed failed. Moreover, the Indians managed to hold out longer than the Spaniards themselves on the island. And their last battle, which became legendary, took place against the French. Representatives of another European country by the second half of the seventeenth century were able to subdue themselves to most of the Antilles. And the last of those who resisted were rebellious Caribs. French troops commanded Du Park - a brutal man, accustomed to achieve the goal. He understood that confrontation with the Indians. And it was necessary to solve this problem with one powerful blow. Du Park with the army landed in Grenada. He, on the basis of his own logic, considered the Caribs "pests". A "pest" according to the Europeans, it was necessary to crush, stepping on them with a boot.
The Caribs understood that a new enemy had come for their lives, and therefore it would not be possible to buy off. The French pushed the army of Indians further and further, until they were driven to the top of the cliff. There was nowhere to retreat. The French began to celebrate, counting by how many heads their slave "zoo" would increase. But the Caribs decided in their own way. Instead of slavery, they chose death. Men and women, children and old people - all once a powerful and proud tribe - came to the edge of the abyss and jumped into the sea. Last committed suicide leader Caribbean. His name история not saved. The French celebrated the victory. Since then, the epic with the conquest of Grenada has been completed. And in memory of the Indians that place was called the jumper rock.
Taino on the warpath
While the brave Caribs tried their best to hold the power of one Spanish army, Taino - the people of Haiti - all the power of the other. Taino called their homeland Kiskieya, the Spaniards called Haiti - La Espanyola, because this island strongly reminded them of the distant Iberian Peninsula.
The first of the Europeans to visit the Kisqua was Columbus at the very end of 1492. Since the island made an indelible impression on the legendary navigator, he decided that a city should appear in “Little Spain”. And founded the settlement of San Nicholas. Here is what Columbus wrote about the locals: “It seems that these people live in the golden age. They are happy and calm in open gardens, not fenced in with fences and not guarded by walls. They sincerely meet each other, live without laws, without books and without judges. ”
In addition to San Nicolas on Kiskye, the fortress of Natividad soon appeared with a well-armed garrison. Europeans quickly realized that Taino was a docile and good-natured people, unwilling to aggression and conflicts. Such behavior of the indigenous population allowed the Spaniards to do whatever they pleased. They began to impose their faith on the Indians, destroyed their villages, killed for the slightest offense, took their women for themselves, and sent the men to the hardest jobs. The Europeans believed so strongly in their divine power in Haiti that they did not even think that Taino would dare to revolt one day. But among the patient and peace-loving redskins, there was still a leader who managed to step over the mentality of the tribe. The leader Kaonabo united the people and raised a rebellion. True, not without betrayal. The leader of Guakangari decided that the war with the whites was a perilous undertaking, so he became an ally of the Spaniards. Columbus, leaving Haiti, it was he who instructed the protection of Natividad. But he did not cope with the task. The guns of the Spaniards and the spears of the Indian traitors could not stop Kaonabo and his soldiers. The indigenous people of Haiti managed to seize the fortress and destroy it. Taino prisoners were not taken, so no one of the defenders of Natividad could survive. Probably, this battle would remain unknown if it were not for the Spaniards, who arrived on the island in the second echelon. Upon learning of the death of the garrison, they decided at all costs to clean La Espanyola from the natives. The new governor of Haiti was Don Nicolas de Owando. He ordered his commanders to make the first war on the island the last. Therefore, well-armed detachments of Spanish soldiers went to destroy the Taino who joined the uprising, who lived in the five "kingdoms" of the island. It must be said that in those days Haiti was divided between the five leaders of Taino, each of whom considered himself independent and therefore led a policy (internal and external) at his discretion. But, nevertheless, the land called Haragua, which rules Anacaona, was considered the main on the whole island. Guarioneh ruled in Magua, Kaonabo was a rebel in Maguane, Kayokoa in Iguayagua, and the traitor Guakangari held Marien under his control. The uprising was supported by four of the five "kingdoms". And at first everything went well for the rebels. Given that they practically had no experience of warfare, the Indians considered that the destruction of the Natividad fortress was the final chord. Naive Taino and could not imagine that the Spaniards would want revenge. After all, they would not have done so ... A colossal difference in mentality played a cruel joke with the Indians.
I must say that the ruler of Anacaona has already met with the Spaniards. Moreover, she personally hosted Christopher Columbus. The European made a good impression on her, and she decided to thank him by the Indian rules - the queen presented fourteen sacred chairs decorated with gold to the navigator, on which noble men smoked a stupefying mix of cohoba made from tobacco and datura. Of course, neither Columbus nor his associates understood the importance, and indeed the meaning of the gift. They counted on the mountains of precious metals and stones, and not on the “stools”, albeit three times sacred. True, the gold with which they were decorated, the Europeans took. As the saying goes, with a black sheep even a shred of wool ...
At that time, the Spanish swords passed through Anacaona and her subjects. Everything changed the rebellion. Therefore, Don Nicholas de Owando sent for his war with the ruler of his most cruel commander - Rodrigo Mejia de Trill. The task of the Spaniard was simple - to burn the village and execute the rebels.
The Anacaans defended their land. But this time, luck turned away from the redskins. In several battles, they were defeated by strangers. The spear did not cope with the arquebus. And then the ruler tried to conclude peace with the Spaniards. She sent messengers to Trillia to give him a message. The conqueror agreed with the proposal of the ruler. He set a time and place for a fateful meeting. The queen then did not imagine that that day, in fact, would be the last for her people.
Where exactly the meeting of Taino and Spaniards took place is unknown. According to eyewitnesses of those events that have survived to our days, Trill somehow lured the Indian negotiators into a certain building, and the ruler remained outside. Somehow the last Taino was inside the door closed and Spanish soldiers appeared from somewhere with torches. In less than a few minutes, the building caught fire. Captured Anakona was forced to look at the death of their fellow tribesmen. When the building burned down, Rodrigo ordered the execution of her. The queen was not burned. Instead, Anacaona was hanged on a high tree, so that her body was an example of how the Spaniards would deal with the rebels. Taino made an indelible impression. The people turned out to be literally trampled. The Indians meekly accepted the power of the Spaniards and walked, fearing to raise their heads.
Soon the conquerors managed to subjugate the remaining lands of Haiti. Even the leader Kaonabo and he gave up. The Anacaan body, swaying in the wind, frightened the Indians much more than the arquebus.
But still among the broken Taino, a new leader was soon found who decided to go against fate - Atwei. He was one of the approximate Anacaones. And when I learned about the death of my ruler, I first fell into despair too. But he could not tolerate the Spanish boot on his back for a long time (at that time, Cisquea was already completely owned by the Spaniards). Becoming a new leader, Atwei began a guerrilla war against the invaders. But she did not bring the necessary result. And then he decided to escape. In contrast to the kindred tribe of the Caribs, who committed mass suicide just to not become slaves of the invaders (this will happen not long before they desperately resisted foreigners), the Taino leader decided to leave his homeland and take refuge on an island to which the Spaniards had not yet reached. Atuay told his compatriots about his idea. Those supported.
Preparation for the escape was carried out in strict secrecy. True, by that time the Spaniards no longer perceived the Indians as full-fledged enemies, so no one particularly followed Taino. Therefore, Atwei, along with his own, could easily sail in a large canoe through the Strait of Wind. He kept the path to Cuba. Together with him, then, Haiti left hundreds of Indians. The Spaniards, noticing the exodus of the Redskins, were only delighted - one less problem.
As the natives of Cuba met uninvited guests - one can only guess. Most likely, cautious and unfriendly. I must say that the Caribs at one time often looked at this island, making bloody raids. Taino landed near the future city of Baracoa, which was founded in 1511 year by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velasquez in the place where Christopher Columbus visited. Before the appearance of Velázquez, there was not much time left ...
According to legend, the Cuban Indians were waiting for fugitives from a neighboring island - this was predicted to them by their priest. The leader personally met Atwei and for several days the Indians conducted negotiations. Taino all this time was talking about the Spaniards and the atrocities they perpetrated in Haiti. In the end, the Cuban agreed that maguakokio - people in clothes - is a real evil. According to legend, he put his hand on Atuei’s head and said: “Be our guests, and you, brave warrior, be here too the leader of your people.” After that, the Cuban allowed the Taino to settle on the banks of the Toa River. Here the fugitives soon built a village, naming it in honor of their homeland - Haragua. Except that this settlement was not at all like those who once erected peace loving Taino.
Atwei knew very well that the Spaniards would come here too - it is only a matter of time. And he began to prepare for the invasion of the invaders in advance. Therefore, the village of Taino was a fortified military camp, where the leader taught his fellow tribesmen military craft. In addition, his soldiers carried round-the-clock watch on the coast.
But, despite the intuition and insight, one day Atwei still could not cope with his mentality. Reflecting on how to stop the invasion of foreigners, he absolutely Haitian decided that the surest way to avoid a new war is to get rid of all the gold. After all, it was like a magnet that attracted Europeans, and with them, death.
Taino themselves considered gold to be a precious metal. Therefore, they decorated them with sacred things for the tribe. As, for example, those same chairs. But gold for Taino was just a beautiful wrapper. Indians did not worship him. But the Spaniards, in the opinion, Atuei only this precious metal was perceived as their only and real god. And if he is not in Cuba, then the Europeans will not come here. Naive Atwei then decided that he was able to save his people ...
After performing a ritual dance with songs, Taino gathered for a council. After a brief discussion, the elders supported their leader. Thanks to the painstaking work of the Spanish Bishop Bartholomew de Lama Casas, a passage of Atuei’s speech reached us today, in which he spoke about the terrible god of foreigners: “They have a cruel and malicious character. They recognize and exalt only the only voracious deity, they are not satisfied with the little ones and want to achieve as much as possible; serving this deity and magnifying it, impose unbearable demands on us and kill us. ”
The Indians believed that if they got rid of all the gold that they had, the Spaniards would not land in Cuba. Therefore, they collected all the items from the precious metal in one big chest, and then drowned it in the Toa River.
But Taino’s quiet life did not last long. One day 1511, the Spaniards did get to Cuba. We must pay tribute to Atuei, he was still sending reconnaissance units to the coast. Then one day a messenger came running into the village shouting “Maguakokio!”. People in clothes got to the new homeland of Taino. Atwei ordered to prepare for battle.
In the bay of Las Palmas entered the ships under the command of conquistador Diego Velázquez. But he was not the first to go ashore, of course, but Captain Francisco de Morales. As soon as the Spaniards took a few steps along the Cuban coast, the Taino, led by the brave leader Atuei, came forward to meet them. The Indians did not even try to talk to strangers - they attacked first. Despite the fact that the Indians were several times more, they lost. Firearm said its weighty word. That defeat taught Atuei a lot. Since then, he no longer tried to confront the Spaniards in open battle. Instead of attacking head-on, the leader chose a grueling partisan tactic for the enemy.
He spread his army across the Cuban forests and waited for the Spaniards, like a beast of prey. The chronicler Ovideo wrote about the detachment under the command of the Ordazo brothers, whom they lured into the marsh by taino and managed to kill almost everyone. Such tactics of warfare have borne fruit. The Spanish weapon, which defeated the Indian, was unable to resist nature. Impassable thickets and swamps inflicted more serious damage than arquebuses. In the end, Velasquez was tired of this cat-and-mouse game. To the rescue of the Spaniard came the old method of getting rid of enemies - treason. The conquerors managed to bribe one of Atuei’s closest associates, and he gave them the location of the camp. At night, the Spaniards quietly interrupted the guards and captured the leader captive.
First of all, they asked Atuei about where the gold of the Taino tribe was hidden. But the Indian was silent. By and large, he had nothing to say. Even if he confessed to the invaders that he had drowned all the gold in the river, they would not have believed him. Just as the Indians couldn’t understand the actions of foreigners with their minds, so the Spaniards would consider Atuei’s confession a lie. After lengthy interrogation and cruel torture, the conquerors surrendered. They realized that they would not get the gold of Taino. Therefore, the anger of the Spaniards fully splashed on the Indian, who dared to challenge them. He was sentenced to death. But unlike Anacaona, Atueyu Velasquez prepared a more painful death - at the stake.
On the appointed day, the Spaniards drove thousands of Indians to the place where the chief was burned down. Velázquez wanted as many Aborigines as possible to see the terrible death of their ruler. And in early February, 1512, the executioner with a lit torch, approached the last leader of Taino. Next to him was a Franciscan priest Juan de Tesin. He wanted the rebellious Indian to adopt Christianity before he died, renouncing his dark paganism. Here is how de las Casas described it: “When Atwey was already tied to a pillar, a monk of the Order of St. Francis, a kind and honest man, addressed him with words about God and the principles of our faith, which Atheus had never heard before. And until the time granted to him by the executioner expired, the monk promised Atuei eternal glory and tranquility if he believed in God, otherwise he would suffer eternal torment. Atwey thought for a while and asked the monk if the gates to paradise were open for the Spaniards. And in response to his words that they are open to good Spaniards, Atwei said without hesitation that then he did not want to go to heaven, but rather to hell, so as not to live with such cruel people. ”
A proud Indian refused to be baptized, a Spanish paradise and a happy life after death. He didn’t want at least something to associate with sworn enemies. Velázquez ordered the executioner, and he set fire to the brushwood. Thus, the first liberator in the long-suffering history of Cuba perished. After the death of Atuei, the war began to gradually fade away. The Indians no longer had such a strong leader who could unite them and inspire a new war against the invaders. And Velázquez went down in history as the conqueror of Cuba.
In the Dominican Republic, near the border with Haiti, there is a “city of magicians” - San Juan de la Maguana, founded by Diego Velasquez. In that city there is Kaonabo Park, where the sculpture of the first freedom fighter Taino is installed. Also in San Juan de la Maguana, you can stroll around Anacaona Square, opened in 1922, and look at the statue of the legendary Indian ruler.