December 7, 2022

EXPO Magazine

Complete News World

Tribal leader sentenced to death for defying Christopher Columbus | the world

And she was also a cultured and accomplished woman who believed in peace, harmony and devoted her life to it. Perhaps for this reason he was one of the few indigenous peoples mentioned in the early years of the conquest of America in the late 15th century.

Your History of the Indies (1527-1547)Friar Bartolomeo de las Casas described her as “an admirable woman, very prudent, very graceful and courtly in her words, arts, and gestures, very friendly with Christians.”

French Jesuit priest Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix wrote in his book. Isle Espagnole or S. History of Domingo (“La Hispaniola or History of the Island of Santo Domingo”, in free translation) She is a “very intelligent woman, superior to her sex and nation”.

Although few historians knew her or were witnesses to the facts, such writings allowed us to trace the story of a woman who had become a legend. More than 500 years after his death, his memory lives on.

Daughter of a powerful family

Anacona is believed to have been 18 years old when Christopher Columbus and his crew arrived on the island on December 5, 1492, which the natives called Quiscua (“Mother of All Lands”), Bohio (“Home of the Dinos”), Babek. (“Land of Gold”) and Aythi.

The Europeans named the island La Hispaniola, which is divided today Haiti It has Dominican Republic.

The largest and most populous region was Zaragua, which was under the command of Anacona’s brother, the Cacique Pohechio. After marrying Kanabo, the chief of that region, she lived in Maguana.

Anacona was respected and loved not only for her position but also for writing poetry and songs.

For this reason, it stood out among the Areidos, which were cultural and religious expressions of the Taíno people that they used to celebrate important events such as storytelling and dance, such as the arrival of a cacique or the success of a harvest.

The history of Anacona is full of legends, but it is said that its position towards the arrival of the Spaniards was initially positive and, after many disappointments, knowing the power of the conquerors, did not cease to preserve peace and coexistence.

In December 1492, Columbus ordered the construction of La Navidad Fort along with the remains of the Santa Maria ship on the northern coast of the island of La Hispaniola.

Description of the construction of La Navidad Fort. ‘Vita y Voyages de Cristobal Colon’, Caspar and Roig, 1851 – Photo: Getty Images

Columbus assigned 39 men to take care of this first Spanish construction on the island, and before leaving, ordered them not to abuse the natives.

But the men disobeyed him, and when Columbus returned in 1493, the fort was destroyed.

The first official historian of the Indies, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, reported that all the men were killed by the tribes, “because they took the women and used them as they pleased, unable to endure their excesses. Abuses and hatred.” , a people without leadership and disorder”.

Caonabo took charge and some reports indicate that Anacona, upon learning of the Spanish’s mistreatment of indigenous women, convinced him to attack them.

But there are historians who deny this version, such as Luisa Navarro, former director of the Faculty of History and Anthropology of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic.

According to historian Luisa Navarro, Anacona was the ‘ultimate leader of an entire population’ revered by his people – Photo: Getty Images

According to the historian, it was almost impossible to reach La Navidad Fort without adequate means of transport.

“To reach where the castle was, it was necessary to climb the northern mountain range and descend on the other side until you reached the coastal part of the Atlantic valley,” Navarro explained to BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanish service.

It takes 63 hours to complete the journey on foot. “How could Anacona have made this journey to find out what was going on and come back to tell Kayonabo?”, she asks.

Other historians suspect that Caonabo was convicted for political reasons and that the charges used by Spanish naval officer Alonso de Ojeda to detain him two years later were false. And even tricked him into jail.

According to Navarro, before his arrest, Ojeda proposed a deal. He presented the chief with a gift, and when he stretched out his hands to accept it, they put the shackles on him.

According to de las Casas, “Caonabo died in chains and chains” in 1496 when a storm capsized the ship that was taking him to Spain. Anacona thus became Maguana’s dowry queen.

Meeting with Columbus’ brother

Anacona went to live in the neighboring region of Zaragoza with his brother Bohechio. There, according to Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, she was “respected and feared” as a cacique.

Shortly thereafter, Bartholomew, Christopher Columbus’ younger brother, arrived in the region. Also, although relations with the conquistadors deteriorated, Anacona convinced Bohecchio to recognize the sovereignty of the Catholic monarchs and to pay taxes already imposed on other parts of the island.

Spanish ships draw attention to Anacona – Photo: Getty Images

Historians of the time suggest that the arrival of Bartholomew Columbus was a festive event, marked by celebrations. There were so many presents that he had to hire a caravel to carry them.

Columbus, for his part, invited Anacona and Bohecchio to visit his ship. When the gunfire was fired in his memory, the noise disturbed them so much that “they threw themselves into the water in surprise; but they calmed down when they saw Bartolomeo laughing,” says historian Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas.

The same historian adds that after the incident, they “observed the curve and curve around them, entered the caravel, and went to the hold and were surprised”.

According to de las Casas, the arrival of the caravel “delighted the king and queen, as well as all the nobles, and their companions were very happy”.

This is one of the few known facts of Anacona’s life – and a happy one at that.

Cacique of Zaragua and Maguana

In 1502, Anacona, cacique of Maguana, lost his brother. And, in recognition of his courage and intelligence, he was appointed head of the island’s “backbone”: Jaragua.

At that moment, La Hispaniola was shaken. There was a revolt by the frustrated Spaniards and the rise of several indigenous Kazis to fight the invaders.

The new governor of the Indies – the commander of Lares, Friar Niccolò de Ovanto – proposed to pacify the island. The remote region of Jaragua was in his sights, not only because Spanish rebels had taken refuge there, but also because Anacona and other caciques were rumored to be plotting against the Spanish crown.

Therefore, the ideas of “pacification” of the governor and the cacique were very different.

Anacona was convinced that only a lasting peace could save his people, despite the contempt and constant abuse of the indigenous people by the Spanish. But Ovanto did not bring the desired peace accords or salvation.

The governor organized his forces and set out for Zaragoza, while Anacona arranged a grand reception for the commander.

On a Sunday in July 1503, Anacona welcomed Ovanto as usual with great feasts, singing and dancing in the Zaragoza square. The Governor arrived with 70 horsemen and 200 footmen.

Dozens of Anacona’s citizen leaders also attended the celebration. She was one of the last to arrive at the square with her daughter and other female leaders.

“She organized an areto for Ovanto… and more than 300 virgins attended the dance, all her maids alone…”, says Fernández de Oviedo.

After several demonstrations of the Tainos’ celebrations, the dignitaries invited the indigenous people to gather in a hut to return the honors with their own show.

Excited and unarmed, the leaders and their companions gathered in a house made of wood and straw. When they saw a match, Ovanto gave the signal of agreement to his men, who captured them, tied them up and burned them alive.

Meanwhile, other Spaniards attacked the indigenous people outside. De las Casas says they cut the children’s legs as they ran. And while some Spaniards tried to save a child by mounting him on his horse, another would approach and “spear the child.”

For several months after the massacre, Niccolò de Ovanto led a bloody campaign of persecution against the indigenous people until they were virtually wiped out from the island, Samuel M. Wilson says in his book. Hispaniola: Caribbean Chiefdoms in the Age of Columbus (“La Hispaniola: The Kazicatos of the Caribbean in the Age of Columbus”, in free translation).

His bloody campaigns and series of epidemics reduced the population of La Hispaniola from an estimated 500,000 at the time of Columbus’ arrival to just 60,000 natives, according to data from the 1507 census. Handbook of Dominican History (“Handbook of Dominican History”, in free translation), historian Frank Moya Ponce.

Anacona and her daughter survived the attack, known in history as the Zaragua Massacre. The chief’s son-in-law, Cuaroguia or Enriqueillo, was also spared and would rebel against the Spanish 15 years later.

But Cacique’s luck was short-lived. She was captured, taken to Santo Domingo, and hanged for conspiracy.

According to the director of the Anakawona Museum, she was “a Tain queen who was greatly admired by the people. She did not lower her head until the last day and gave her life for them”.

Navarro describes her as “the ultimate leader not only of this island, but of the entire people.” [La Hispaniola]But also in Puerto Rico, Cuba and part of Jamaica”.

Her story is commemorated in songs such as “Anacona” by Puerto Rican singer Sio Feliciano and in poems bearing her name by Dominican poet Salomé Urena.