Native American Class Website
Taíno Indians

Taíno Indians

By: Matthew




Taíno Indians were a subgroup of the Arawakan Indians 

They inhabited Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, (Haiti and the Dominican Republic)

The Taíno Indians were always living in a hot climate and the countries they lived in were filled with rain forests



  •   1,000 artifacts at a site located 460 kilometers east of Havana, presumed to be one of the biggest Caribbean settlements of the Taíno

  • Bodies, structures, and rock art thought to belong to an indigenous pre-Columbian culture have been unearthed at an ancient settlement in Puerto Rico



•  The Caciques lived in rectangular huts, called caneyes, located in the center of the village facing the batey

•  The naborias lived in round huts, called bohios

•  Their huts were made up of wooden frames, topped by straw, with earthen floor, and scant interior furnishing



·  Their main crops were cassava, garlic, potatoes, yautías, mamey, guava, and anon

·  They hunted wild animals such as birds, manatees, snakes, parrots, jutías (small rodents), iguanas, and waterfowl


·  Men went naked or wore a breech cloth, called nagua

·  Single women walked around naked

·  Married women wore an apron to cover their genitals, made of cotton or palm fibers



·  There was a hierarchy of deities who inhabited the sky

·  Yocahu was the supreme Creator

·  Another god, Jurakán, was perpetually angry and ruled the power of the hurricane

·  Other mythological figures were the gods Zemi and Maboya

·  The Zemis, a god of both sexes, were represented by icons in the form of human and animal figures, and collars made of wood, stone, bones, and human remains

·  Taíno Indians believed that being in the good graces of their Zemis protected them from disease, hurricanes, or disaster in war

·  They therefore served cassava (manioc) bread as well as beverages and tobacco to their Zemis as propitiatory offerings

·  Maboyas , on the other hand, was a nocturnal deity who destroyed the crops and was feared by all the natives, to the extent that elaborate sacrifices were offered to placate him



  • The Taíno Indians lived in theocratic kingdoms and had a hierarchically arranged chiefs or caciques

  • The Taínos were divided in three social classes

  •   The naborias (work class), the nitaínos (sub-chiefs and noblemen) which include the bohiques (priests and medicine men), and the caciques (chiefs)



•  Taíno weapons consisted of the baira (bow) and the arrow, the manaya (hatchet) and the macana (war club) made out of Guayacan wood


A picture of the  Taíno indians of the past and the present.

Click here to view a website of Taíno paitings