The Caribbean islands
were inhabited by the Taino tribes prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1503.
Early inhabitants of Jamaica
named the land "Xaymaca", meaning "Land of wood and
The Taíno were an
indigenous people of the Caribbean islands
also known as Arawak Indians. That was the name I was given when I reached Jamaica in
1964. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century,
they were the inhabitants of most of Cuba, Hispaniola (the Dominican
Republic and Haiti), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas and the northern
Lesser Antilles. The Taíno were the first New World
peoples to encounter Europeans, during the voyages of Christopher Columbus,
starting in 1492. They spoke the Taíno language, an Arawakan language.
Arawakan (Arahuacan), also known as Maipurean (Maipuran, Maipureano,
Maipúre), is a language family that developed among ancient indigenous
peoples in South America which were carried into various parts of
Central America and the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean and the
Atlantic, including what is now the Bahamas.
= "good people".
A direct translation of the word
"Taíno" is "good people".
Additionally, the name was used by the indigenous people of Hispaniola to indicate that they were
"relatives"or one clan.
Taínois classified into
three main groups:
Classic Taíno, mostly from Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican
Western Taíno, or sub-Taíno, for population from Jamaica,
Cuba (except for the western tip), and the Bahamian archipelago; and Eastern
Taíno for those from the Virgin Islands to Montserrat.
Taíno and Island
Three schools of thought
have emerged regarding the origin of the indigenous people of the Caribbean.
· Amazon Basin theory .
One group of scholars contends that the ancestors of the Taíno came from
the center of the Amazon
Basin, and are
related to the Yanomama. This is indicated by linguistic, cultural and
ceramic evidence. They migrated to the Orinoco
valley on the north coast. From there they reached the Caribbean by way of
what is now Guyana and Venezuela into Trinidad, proceeding along
the Lesser Antilles to Cuba
and the Bahamian archipelago. Evidence that supports this theory includes
the tracing of the ancestral cultures of these people to the Orinoco Valley
and their languages to the Amazon
and linguistic evidence suggests strong links with South
America. Modern DNA studies also point to South America,
This culture is
thought to have originated at the lower Orinoco
River near the modern settlements
of Saladero and Barrancas in Venezuela. Seafaring people
from the lowland region of the Orinoco
River migrated into and
established settlements in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola. They displaced the pre-ceramic Ortoiroid
culture. As a horticultural people, they initially occupied wetter and more
fertile islands that could best support agriculture. These Indigenous
peoples of the Americas
were an Arawak-speaking culture. They must have come from both directions
by around 250 BC and mingled together to form the culture. It became
an independent culture as they were in the new land of \islands surrounded
by the vast seas forming their own cultural practices by 1000 AD.
· The Circum-Caribbean theory.
The alternate theory, contends
that the ancestors of the Taíno came from the Colombian Andes.(
proposed by Julian H. Steward) It suggests a migration from the
Andes to the Caribbean and a parallel migration into Central America and
into the Guianas, Venezuela, and the Amazon Basin of South
Taíno culture as
documented is believed to have developed in the Caribbean.
The Taíno creation story says that they emerged from caves in a sacred
mountain on present-day Hispaniola. In Puerto Rico, 21st century DNA studies have show a
high proportion of people Taíno ancestral group, so other Native American
people are also part of this genetic ancestry. Research indicates
that Arawakan-speech communities came into the Greater
Antilles and gave rise to the Taíno language. Research
indicates that these Taíno languages were born around the time of
Christ. Y DNA also suggest a migration from mainland of America as
Languages of the Caribbean
Taino names of the carribean islands
Though human habitation in these
parts of the continent and islands may extend to probably more than 20,000
years or more we have no clear mineralogical or historical evidences to
support it. The ancestors of the Taíno is hence asserted as originated in
South America, and the Taíno culture developed in the Caribbean
islands. Taíno groups were in conflict with the Island Caribs of the
southern Lesser Antilles. Historians
believe that these Indians came up through the Antilles and into Jamaica in
two different waves. The first wave of inhabitants is known as the
"redware people,"who probably arrived around 650 AD. The second
wave arrived between 850 and 900 AD. Thus we only have solid evidences only
for the period of common era. It does not mean there were no habitation
before that. Only that we came to know them later and the locals did
not have history documented in any form.
At the time of contact by the
Europeans, the Taíno were divided into several groups.
Western Taíno groups included the Lucayans of the Bahamas, the Ciboney of central Cuba, and the inhabitants of Jamaica.
The Classic Taíno lived in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.
The Eastern Taíno lived in the northern islands of the Lesser
At the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492, there were
five Taino chiefdom and territories each led by a Cacique (chief),
to whom tribute was paid. The Taíno name for Hispaniola was Ayiti ("land
of high mountains"), which is now called Haiti. Cuba was divided into 29 chiefdom, many of
which have given their name to modern cities, including Havana,
Batabanó, Camagüey, Baracoa,
and Bayamo.Taíno communities ranged from small settlements to larger
centers of up to 3,000 people. They may have numbered 2 million at the time
The Spanish conquered various
Taíno chiefdom during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century.
Warfare and harsh enslavement by the colonists decimated the population.
European diseases also played a major role; a smallpox epidemic in Hispaniola in 1518-1519 killed almost 90% of the
surviving Taíno. The remaining Taíno were intermarried with Europeans and
Africans, and were incorporated into the Spanish colonies. The Taíno were
considered extinct by the end of the century. However, since about 1840,
there have been attempts to create a quasi-indigenous Taíno identity in
rural areas of Cuba, the
Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. This trend accelerated among Puerto
Rican communities in the mainland United States in the 1960s.
At the 2010 U.S.
census, 1,098 people in Puerto Rico
identified themselves as "Puerto Rican Indian", 1,410 identified
as "Spanish American Indian", and 9,399 identified as
"Taíno." In total, 35,856 Puerto Ricans considered themselves
Portuguese sailor Columbus
started out to get to India
by sea and as a result every place he landed he assumed it as India and
hence the people of these lands came to be known as some-Indian. They
have no connection with India.
It simply came to imply that they are natives of that land.
Reconstruction of a Taíno village in Cuba
Dujo, a wooden ceremonial chair of Taínos
Taíno society was divided into
two classes: naborias (commoners) and nitaínos (nobles).
These were governed by male or female chiefs known as caciques,
who inherited their position through their mother's noble line. The
nitaínos functioned as sub-caciques in villages, overseeing naborias..
Caciques were advised by priests/healers known as bohiques.
Caciques enjoyed the privilege of wearing golden
pendants called guanín, living in square bohíos, instead
of the round ones of ordinary villagers, and sitting on wooden stools to be
above the guests they received. Bohiques were extolled for their healing
powers and ability to speak with deities. They were consulted and granted
the Taíno permission to engage in important tasks.
Gold Plated Pendants of the Cacique symbolizing authority
The caciques were singled
out for unique housing. Their houses were rectangular and even
featured a small porch. This was the Palace Bohios of the Caciques.
[Some classify them as three social classes: the naborias (work class), the
nitaínos or sub-chiefs and noblemen which includes the bohiques or priests
and medicine men and the caciques or chiefs, each village or yucayeque had
Often, the general
population lived in large circular buildings (bohios), constructed
with wooden poles, woven straw, and palm leaves. These houses, built
surrounding the central plaza, could hold 10-15 families each.Taíno home
furnishings included cotton hammocks (hamaca), sleeping and sitting
mats made of palms, wooden chairs (dujo or duho) with woven seats,
platforms, and cradles for children.
Circular homes (Caney) of commoners compared to
square( bohíos ) where Caciques lived
The Taino’s staple food was
cassava and yam. Cassava was so important that God is directly connected to
it. They made mounds over which they planted the cassava so that the roots
got plenty of air. They would burn the forest or scrub and then heap the
ashes and soil into mounds that could be easily planted, tended, and
irrigated. These then provided a replenish nourishment for the soil.
Corn (maize), beans, squash, tobacco, peanuts (groundnuts), and
peppers were also grown, and wild plants were gathered
Harvesting yuca.: Grating
yuca tubers during the process of making casabe bread: Ancient Taino
casabe-bread baking method on a clay griddle
Baking cassava bread
on a large-scale basis.
Birds, lizards, and small
animals were hunted for food, the only domesticated animals being dogs and,
occasionally, parrots used to decoy wild birds within range of hunters.
Fish and shellfish were another
important food source.
Traditional Taino settlements
ranged from small family compounds to groups of 3,000 people. Houses were
built of logs and poles with thatched roofs and several families often
stayed together in one large hut.. Men wore loincloths and women wore
aprons of cotton or palm fibers. Both sexes painted themselves on special
occasions, and they wore earrings, nose rings, and necklaces, which were
sometimes made of gold. The Taino also made pottery, baskets, and
implements of stone and wood. A favourite form of recreation was a ball
game played on rectangular courts. The Taino had an elaborate system of
religious beliefs and rituals that involved the worship of spirits (zemis)
by means of carved representations. They also had a complex social order,
with a government of hereditary chiefs and sub-chiefs and classes of
nobles, commoners, and slaves.
Batéy was the name given to a special plaza
around which the Caribbean Taino built their settlements. It was usually a
rectangular area surrounded by stones with carved symbols (petroglyphs).
A religious ceremony of great
importance was the ritual of the cohoba. The cohoba ritual is one of
the most important throughout most of the Greater
Antilles. It involves the consumption of the hallucinogenic
seed of Piptadenia peregrina or Anadenanthera peregrina, in order to
make contact with the supernatural. The main men of the yucayeque (called
nitaínos), along with the Cacique and the behique, gathered in the caney, a
space that served as a temple and the home of the Cacique. There, the
Cacique or the behique inhaled the dust of the cohoba seed, mixed with
ground shells, which allowed him to communicate in a trance with the
cemíes. This act was used to seek answers to questions about the present,
the future or the cause of illnesses and how to cure them.
Anadenanthera peregrina, also known as yopo, jopo, cohoba, parica or
calcium tree, is a perennial tree of the genus Anadenanthera native to the Caribbean and South America.It grows up to 20 m (66
ft) tall, and has a horny bark. Its flowers are pale yellow to white and
spherical. It is an entheogen which has been used in healing ceremonies and
rituals for thousands of years in South America.
The beans (sometimes called seeds) and falling leaves are hallucinogenic
and are toxic to cattle.
Rock petroglyph overlaid
with chalk in the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial
Center in Utuado, Puerto Rico.
The batey was also the area in
which batey events ( ceremonies, the ball game, etc.) took place. The batey
ceremony (also known as batu) can be viewed from some historical accounts
as more of a judicial contest rather than a game. Because historical
accounts of the game and court space come from (mostly Spanish) European
explorers, the true nature, history, and function of the batey is still
contested. Neighboring tribes may have used batey matches to resolve
differences without warfare.
Taino Gods and Goddesses
There is a hierarchy of deities who inhabited the sky.
Yocahu is the supreme Creator.
Jurakán, was perpetually angry god of the storm and hurricane.
Cemís are both portable artifacts and embodiment of persons or
spirit, which the Taínos and other natives of the Greater
Antilles (ca. AD 1000-1550) regarded as numinous beings with
supernatural or magic powers.
The gods Zemi and Maboya fills the universe.
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.
Myths and traditions were perpetuated through ceremonial dances
(areytos), drumbeats, oral traditions, and a ceremonial ball game played
between opposing teams (of 10 to 30 players per team) with a rubber ball;
winning this game was thought to bring a good harvest and strong, healthy
Zemí was also the name the people
gave to their physical representations of the gods, whether objects or
drawings. They were made in many forms and materials and have been found in
a variety of settings. The majority of Zemíes were crafted from
wood, stone, bone, shell, pottery, and cotton. Zemí
petroglyphs were carved on rocks in streams, ball courts, and on stalagmites
in caves. Zemí pictographs were found on secular objects such as pottery,
and on tattoos.
Mother of all: Considered the
most supreme of the gods, the goddess Atabey is important because she is
the mother of gods and the initial creator. In fact, she even gave birth
to her self, making her one of the more powerful of creation gods in
mythic study. She was also the goddess of music, fertility, and beauty.
She was depicted as a frog-like figure who is, more often than not, in
the birthing position, to symbolize her importance as mother of all.
Guabancex: Goddess of storms and the
destruction they bring, Guabancex actually has a lasting legacy in
English culture. She was often accompanied by two twin entities who
announced her arrival: thunder and wind. Together with them, they created
the juracan, a word the Spanish settlers would later translate to huracan,
which is more well-known to us as a hurricane. Due to the violent and
destructive aftermath of hurricanes, Guabancex was often portrayed as
having a very volatile temper.
Yocahu: Yocahu is the leading god of the Taino
is the son of Atabey and god of the sea. However, like most gods who lead a
people, Yocahu lives in the sky to keep watch over the Taino people.
is also considered a god of fertility as well, and was associated with
the Taino's main crop, the root known as cassava. Farmers would
bury statues of Yocahu to bless their fields in the hopes of assuring
the spirit of cassava the
Taínos’ main crop and the sea
It is the common
Taíno god related to growing of cassava, the process of life, creation
the mother of Yúcahu, was the goddess of the moon, fresh waters and
Baibrama was a minor god worshiped for his
assistance in growing cassava and curing people from its poisonous juice.
. Baibrama was an assistant god to Yocahu who helped
with the planting of cassava
Vaguada Maorocoti: God of fertility. "Spirit of the Yucca and the
sea. Mr yucador. " He was buried in the conucos cassava; main food
of the native Taino, to fertilize the soil.
used by the Aborigines of Quisqueyana to store water and fermenting the
wine produced with the juice of Guáyiga. They were bought by women to men
as a declaration of love
God of Labour
brothers Guillen, based on Taino art. The potiza carrying on his back,
representing the hard work you were subjected aboriginal Americans as a
result of conquest.
Mother Earth. Mother of twins representing the four cardinal points or
"the four winds."
Doctor", Shaman. It represents the wisest character in the Taino
tribe, knowing all the plants and medicinal substances responsible for
curing diseases, director of the rite of cohoba. If left to a dying
patient, the relatives of the dead killed clobbered.
of Rain. Large tears emerging from their eyes as a sign of water that
will govern the field to fertilize the cultivation of cassava.
mortar used for rituals in the spraying of the ingredients of cohoba
(seeds, shells, leaves).
Roñoso." Unico child with the name of Mother Earth goddess. It
represents a chieftain to which his brothers discovered a tumor, which
operate and draw a turtle alive.
Sale of a cave of the country chieftain
Mautiatibuel (son of dawn) or "Lord of the Dawn", which returns
to hide, while the sun rises from there.
used by the Taino in the rite of cohoba for inhaling dust hallucinogen
during the magical-religious ceremony.
seat used by warlords to preside over the ceremonies and rituals.
of Snuff." This figure was used as funerary urn for major characters
and loved ones of the tribe.
Sale of a cave of the country's chief Mautiatibuel
(son of dawn) or "Lord of the Dawn", which returns to hide,
while the moon comes out of there.
represents a god in the ceremonial position that took the chieftain or
behique in the rite of cohoba.
God of force
brothers Guillen, based on Taino art. The trunk that rose, represents the
willpower of the people for being free.
of the face of characters and mystical animals or real world Taino.
antropomorfo sedentary, for his position, is known as the representation
of "God's thinking." It was used to consume liquid at the
ceremony of marriage.
Seal or Rattle
representing toad or turtle with geometric design subsection, used to make
prints on clothing or skin.
remained tied until the evening when it was released into the jungle. Its
position suggests that it is ready to jump and escape to freedom.
used in cooking and for ceremonial occasions.
that, according to mythology Taino, stand guard in a cave called
cacibajagua; place where people came to populate the island. One day it
took to reach his post and was turned into stone by the action of the
God of Cohoba
deity Taíno. The plate of his head was used to move the dust that was
inhaled hallucinogen in ceremonies regligiosas (rite of cohoba).
brothers Guillen, based on Taino art. The container carrying in his hands
is a symbol of prosperity and peace, which each man achieved as a result
These are just a few.
There is no fixed forms as the representations varies with the
imagination of the creator.
Maquetaurie Guayaba or Maketaori
Guayaba was the god of Coaybay or Coabey, the land of the dead.
Opiyelguabirán’, a dog-shaped god, watched over the dead. Deminán
Caracaracol, a male cultural hero from which the Taíno believed to descend,
was worshipped as a cemí. Macocael
was a cultural hero worshipped as a god who had failed to guard the
mountain from which human beings arose. He was punished by being turned
into stone, or a bird, a frog, or a reptile, depending on interpretation of
They believed in a supreme God
being male and female. They made the represenation of the God and the lower
Spirits called zemis (gods) in Wood, stone, bone, shell, clay and
The High Priest is the Chief of
the tribe - Cacique who is helped by the noble class. They can communicate
with the gods and spirits. In preparation for communing with the gods, the
Cacique would purify himself by inducing vomiting and smoking cohiba, a
type of narcotic. In his state of intoxication it Was believed that he
communicated directly with the spirits and gods.
Tainos believed in life after
death in a heaven called Coyaba - a place of tranquility rest
filled with dancing and feasting. .
Finally, there was Maketaori
Guayaba, the god of the underworld.
Taino Creation Story
Atabey gave birth to herself,
and for a time was the only being in existence. Eventually, she gave birth
to twins, Yocahu and Guacar. Yocahu was good and desired to fill the void
of this yet, nonexistent world. He created the sun and the moon and made the
stars out of shining stones. He gave fertility to the land and populated it
with living creatures. Finally, he wanted to make a creature that was
something between a god and an animal, and thus he made the first man,
called Locou. While Locou lived in happiness in the world, Yocahu's
brother, Guacar grew jealous.
There seems to be another story
of creation starting with Yaya
Yaya – who, it has been
suggested, would come to be Yocahu Bagua Maórocoti – was the elemental
beginning of existence, the life-giving spirit. His son was Yayael.
However there arose a disagreement betweeb Yaya and Yayael whereupon
Yayael tried to kill his father. Yaya expelled his son, Yayael. When
allowed to return, Yaya killed him and put his bones in a gourd. These grew into
fishes. One day, in the absence of Yaya, the four quadruplets of Itiba
Cahubaba (the earth mother, who died in childbirth), led by Deminán
Caracaracol, took the gourd and ate the fish. The gourd fell, the water
spilled, and the ocean was born on the earth. Another time, Deminán
Caracaracol and his brothers stole fire, the ritual of cohoba, and cassava
from Bayamanaco, the god of fire. Bayamanaco shot Deminán in the back. The
wound grew. His brothers opened it and a turtle emerged.
The Tainos conceived of the island of Haiti
(later called Hispaniola) as the body of a
woman. It was the sacred place that gave life. On the east side was
the cave of the divine serpent, Iguanaboína, from where the sun rose. Along
with her were Boínayel and Márohu. The three were considered the deities of
good weather and life-giving rain. Their counterparts were three other
deities, those of bad weather and hurricanes: Guabancex, Guatauba, and
Coatrisquie. The center of the universe was the Cauta Mountain.
On it were two more caves. The first humans came out of the Cacibajagua Cave to begin society. The third
cave, to the west, was called Coaybay. It was ruled by Maquetarie Guayaba,
god of the dead.
No one was allowed to look at
the sun. As a result they slept in the cave during the day and came
out in the night. There were three attempts to come out of the
cave during the day.
In the first, the sun turned Mácocael, guardian of Cacibajagua, into stone.
In the second, at sunrise, some fishermen were turned into trees.
In the third, Yahubaba, who was looking for digo (a magical medicinal
plant), was transformed into a bird.
Finally, Guahayona and Anacacuya were able to leave the cave.
At sea, Guahayona threw Anacacuya into the sea, returned to the cave and
took all the women, which he left on an island. He then traveled to a
place called Guanín.
The children, who were left without their mothers, cried so much they were
transformed into frogs. The men, meanwhile, saw how the trees appeared to
be androgynous figures made of wood. The woodpecker, Inriri, carved women’s
bodies in them.
What little we know about these
beliefs we owe to the work "Relacion de las Antiguedades de los
Indios" by friar Jeronimo Ramon Pane, under direct orders from
Christopher Columbus 1498.
Yaya- Supreme being, great Spirit.
Creator and giver of life. Ancestral spirit. Father of Yayael
Yayael- Rebel spirit. Creator of the
sea and all of its creatures.
Itiba Cahubaba- The old Mother. The
great breeder. Gave her blood and life while giving birth to quadruplets.
Deminán Caracaracol and his three
bothers (Quadruplets) - They represent the expansion of space, and the four
elements. It is said that they civilized humanity by teaching the secrets
of fire, "cazabe" (yuca) , and "cohoba" (shamanic ceremony)
, after stealing them from Bayamanaco
Bayamanaco- Grandfather spirit of
fire. The other aspect of the God Yaya. Possesses knowledge of fire, cazabe
and the cohoba ritual. In anger he consumes all that is in his way.
Caguama- Mother of all Taínos. Arises
from Deminan's back. After stealing the secrets from Grandfather spirit,
Daminán got cursed when Bayamanaco spit on his back. A lump started
forming, causing him to be ill and close to death. His brothers tried to
remove this with a blade, but the wound became infected and Daminán died. A
big turtle came out of the wound, who then turned into a woman. She coupled
with the brothers, giving origin to the Taino people.
Atabex- Goddess, Mother Earth. Her sacred animals are the boa
"Maha", the crocodile "Kaimán" , and the turtle. Mother
of the waters and of the twins Yucahù and Guakar . She represents fertility
and is the protector of pregnant women. Her womb is the source of all
creation and the dwelling place of the dead , "coa bay" or the
Tradition in Taino History
or Joseph RiverWind of Northern Arawak Taino
Chief Riverwind,is a
descendant of both Native Americans and Bnei Anousim (Jews who hid their
identity as a result of the Spanish Inquisition). He assserts that the
connection is positively true.
“Among my people, our
ancient name for God is Yah Yah ‘The Supreme Spirit of Spirits’, very
similar to Yahweh,” Chief Riverwind explained. “Among my wife’s
ancestors, the AniKituwahYah (Cherokee), they called God YoHeWaH. And the
similarities don’t stop there. They carried an ark into battle, celebrate
seven feasts, kept a seventh day of rest, had cities of refuge, and don’t eat
The call for gathering together by
the Indians “Shema, shema, nayena, popaska hoya yah”. translates as
“Listen, listen, people, as you gather together, we will dance before the
creator.” which echoes the shema of jews “Hear O Israel, Lord your
God is One”
“Some Anishnabi (Chippewa) believe
they are from the Tribe of Ephraim,” Chief Riverwind explained. “Anishnabi”
is amazingly similar to the Hebrew words, “Anshe Navi” (People of the
Prophet). “They lived on the coast, but their legends say that before that,
they came from across the great waters. We have cave-drawings of these
ships that are very similar to drawings of Phoenician ships in history
FATHER IN TAINO"
Guakia Baba (Our Father), turey toca
(is in sky),
Guami-ke-ni (Lord of land and water),
Guami-caraya-guey (Lord of moon and
guarico (come to), guakia (us),
tayno-ti (good,tall), bo-matun; (big,generous), busica (give to), guakia
(us), aje-cazabi; (tubercles,bread),
Juracan-ua (bad spirit no), Maboya-ua
Jukiyu-jan; (good spirit yes),
Diosa (of God), nabori daca (servant
Jan-jan catu (So be it).(Amen)
Prehistoria de Puerto Rico 1493: Dr. Cayetano Coll y Toste]
On the outset we observe that:
There seems to have some connection
with the Hebrew name of God YHVH to YAYA the self existant being both in
Judaism and in Taino tradition. Though the myths that follow does not
help very much
Again the use of El at the end of
name indicates a connection to hebrew God El. The final El usually
implies a name of an angel or prophet like Michael, Ezekiel etc. Is
there a connection?
“One of the first books to suggest the Native American Lost Tribe
theory was written by a Jew, the Dutch rabbi, scholar, and diplomat Manasseh
ben Israel. In
The Hope of Israel
(1650), Ben Israel suggested that the discovery of the Native
Americans, a surviving remnant of the Assyrian exile, was a sign heralding
the messianic era. Just one year later, Thomas Thorowgood published his
best seller Jewes in America,
Or, Probabilities that those Indians are Judaical, made more probable by
some Additionals to the former Conjectures. The Lost Tribe idea found favor
among early American notables, including Cotton Mather (the influential
English minister), Elias Boudinot (the New Jersey lawyer who was one of the
leaders of the American Revolution), and the Quaker leader William Penn.
“The notion was revived after James
Adair, a 40-year veteran Indian trader and meticulous chronicler
of the Israelitish features of Native American religion and social custom
wrote The History of the American Indians…Containing an Account of their
Origin, Language, Manners, Religion and Civil Customs in 1775. Even
Epaphras Jones, an American Bible professor engaged the theory in 1831,
claiming that anyone “conversant with the European Jews and the Aborigines
of America… will perceive a great likeness in color, features, hair,
aptness to cunning, dispositions for roving, &s.”
“Adair recorded a
number of parallels in cultural practices between the Jews and the Indians.
Some examples include: their division into tribes, their appointment of
holy priests, their manner of counting the months through the lunar year,
their festivals – some which he claimed corresponded with the Jewish
calendar, their fasts and religious rites which they believed helped
cleanse them of their sins, their laws of uncleanliness and marital
separation during a women’s menstrual period, their ritual purification
after touching the dead, their cities of refuge, their manner of burial of
and mourning for the dead, and their perpetuating the name of a deceased
brother through remarriage of his wife.
Adair claimed that the Jews and
Indians had similar languages and dialects, with both languages lacking
prepositions and formed with prefixes and suffixes. Adair also provided
examples of Native American words that are supposedly similar to Hebrew
words. In one example, he referred to the word for man in the Indian
language as ish or ishie.”
The following are
some of the archealogical evidences presented.
1. The Los
Lunas Decalogue Stone is a
large boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico,
about 35 miles (56 km) south of Albuquerque, that bears a very regular
inscription carved into a flat panel. The stone is also known as the Los
Lunas Mystery Stone or Commandment Rock. The stone is controversial in that
some claim the inscription is Pre-Columbian, and therefore proof of early
Semitic contact with the Americas.The Decalogue Stone is an 80-ton boulder
on which an abridged version of the Ten Commandments is inscribed in
ancient paleo-Hebrew If authentic, it would prove a pre-Columbian
connection between North America and Israel.
Decalogue Stone with ten commandments written in Paleo-Hebrew, located in New Mexico.
Here is the transcription.
The Los Lunas Hebrew Inscription
Jeff A. Benner
The above inscription is very unique
for several reasons. First, it is written in an ancient Hebrew script.
Second it is located near the small town of Los Lunas
in the State of New Mexico, USA. Third,
the inscription is of the "Ten Commandments".
Is this inscription an original or a
fake. If it is original, this proves that a Semitic people, probably
Hebrews, arrived in the Americas
long before Columbus or the Vikings.
The above inscription is unlikely a
fake for the following reasons. The actual time of discovery of the
inscription is not known but was known by the locals as far back as the
1850's. At that time, the script of the text was unknown and therefore
undecipherable. It was not until the late nineteenth century that the
ancient Hebrew (paleo-Hebrew) script was discovered in the Near East. Once this ancient script was discovered
and decipered, it was possible for the Los Lunas inscription to be
deciphered and at that time it was found to be a copy of the "Ten
When we compare the script on the Los
Lunas inscription with the above inscription found in 1993 at Tell Dan in
the land of Israel, we find that the scripts are almost
identical….. Below is a comparison of the scripts from both
“Professor of archaeology at Central Connecticut State
Feder has declared that “the stone is almost certainly a fake” as it seems
to make use of some modern Hebrew punctuation and contains numerous
stylistic and grammatical errors”.
For a detailed study see
Turning Right at the Burning Bush,
Reflections on a National Treasure from Ancient America
Roger L. Williamson B.A; M. Div.
Cyrus Gordon has proposed that the Los Lunas Decalogue is a Samaritan
mezuzah. The familiar Jewish mezuzah is a tiny scroll placed in a small
container mounted by the entrance to a house. The ancient Samaritan
mezuzah, on the other hand, was commonly a large stone slab placed by the
gateway to a property or synagogue, and bearing an abridged version of the
Decalogue. On historical and epigraphic grounds, Gordon regards the
Byzantine period as the most likely for the inscription. The Samaritan
alphabet is a direct descendant of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.
The Bat Creek inscription (also
called the Bat Creek stone or Bat Creek tablet) is an
inscribed stone collected as part of a Native American burial mound
excavation in Loudon County, Tennessee, in 1889 by the Smithsonian Bureau
of Ethnology's Mound Survey, directed by entomologist Cyrus Thomas. The
inscriptions were initially described as Cherokee, but in 2004,
similarities to an inscription that was circulating in a Freemason book
were discovered. But some hoax expert consider it a hoax.
In 2014, the Smithsonian
Department of Anthropology issued the following statement concerning the
“While recognizing that a diversity
of opinion continues to circulate around the authenticity of the Bat Creek
Stone, the curators in the Department of Anthropology at the National
Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, believe that the
inscriptions on the artifact are forgeries and that the artifact is a
1. The Grave Creek Stone
The Grave Creek
Stone is a small sandstone disk inscribed on one side with some twenty-five
characters, purportedly discovered in 1838 at Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, West
4. The Newark Holy Stones
The Newark Holy Stones refer to a set
of artifacts allegedly discovered by David Wyrick in 1860 within a cluster
of ancient Indian burial mounds near Newark,
Ohio. The set consists of the
Keystone, a stone bowl, and the Decalogue with its sandstone box. They can
be viewed at the Johnson-Humrickhouse
Museum in Coshocton,
Ohio.Ohio Decalogue Stone and Keystone
In November of 1860, David
Wyrick of Newark, Ohio
found an inscribed stone in a burial mound about 10 miles south of Newark. The stone is
inscribed on all sides with a condensed version of the Ten Commandments or
Decalogue, in a peculiar form of post-Exilic square Hebrew letters. The
robed and bearded figure on the front is identified as Moses in
letters fanning over his head.
The Keystone inscription on the four
Qedosh Qedoshim, "Holy of Holies"
Melek Eretz, "King of the Earth"
Torath YHWH, "The Law of God"
Devor YHWH, "The Word of
THE WHITE CARGO
The indigenous peoples of America
refused to be enslaved and they were difﬁcult to control. The
settlers in America and
all other West Indies Islands from England had a real problem.
How to find labor for their plantations? Some of the early settlers
were absentee land owners. That made the affair practically
impossible unless labor is made available. Hence naturally they began to
hire service from England
These were again indentured laborers hired for a certain period with to and
fro shipping made free and their wages fixed. They agreed to work for
a set period of time in exchange for land and rights. Many of the white
neighbors who wished to be settled in these parts of the world found this
as an opportunity to make a trip to the new world and take their chances.
While this was the common reality there were forced recruitment and even
abduction prevalent. However as we can assume their life was not very much
different from the slaves of latter period.
WHITE CARGO: The
Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America. By Don Jordan and
Michael Walsh. New York
In the above book by Jordan and
Michael Walsh the story of “White Cargo” begins with the discovery of a
17th-century skeleton of a 16 year old British boy in Maryland in 2003. It was
determined that he died of tuberculosis and suffered injuries
indicating hard slavery. He was not even given a decent burial
but was discared as a waste in the basement of the home.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, more than 300,000 white people were shipped to America. It
is estimated that 15,000 convicts were deported from Ireland
alone between 1718 and 1775. These included urchins swept up from London streets to
labor in the tobacco fields, where life expectancy was no more than two
years. Brothels were raided transported to provide breeders. Another
group consisted of convicts punished under forced labor by the courts.
These were added to the already dreaming migrants who were duped into
signing as indentured servants, unaware of the realities that took
place at the other end where they become helpless, alone without any
availability of justice nor even possibility of complaining.
Drawing on letters crying for help, diaries, and court and government
archives, support these conjectures. These then were the beginning of the
ultimate reality of chattel slavery practiced in this part of the world
when even these white criminals and vagabonds were not made available.
The tobacco cultivation in
started in 1613 of which made the situation worse for lack of labor force.
Slavery was viewed as the cheapest and most expedient way of
providing the necessary work force. While each black slave costed
around 50 sterling, the white laborer was only 7 sterling. Due to
harsh working conditions, beatings, starvation, and disease, survival rates
for white laborer rarely exceeded two years. Thus, a
continuous flow of white slaves from England,
Ireland, and Scotland from 1618 to 1775, became part of
the system and structure providing the wealth for the shipping magnates
through the traffic of an on going supply of criminals and indentured
colonial masters. It was considered as a sweeping clean up of the
nation in Britain
and its neighbors which was considered as a service to their country of
origin and as an act of kindness to those dreamed of gold in their new
countries. There was even a proclamation by James
I in the year 1603 ordering that “rogues, vagabonds, idle, and
dissolute persons” be “banished and conveyed” to “places and parts beyond
They were promised land after a
period of servitude, but most worked unpaid for up to15 years with few ever
owning any land. Mortality rates were high. Of the 1,200 who
arrived in 1619, more than two thirds perished in the first year from
disease, working to death, or Indian raid killings. In Maryland, out of
5,000 indentured servants who entered the colony between 1670 and 1680,
1250 died in bondage, 1,300 gained their right to freedom, and only 241
ever became landowners.
The Irish slave trade began when James VI sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as
slaves to the New World. His Proclamation
of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to
English settlers in the West Indies.
By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the
main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat.
At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat
were Irish slaves.
Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human
livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.
From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish
were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s
population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade.
Families were ripped apart as the
British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them
across the Atlantic. This led to a
helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s
solution was to auction them off as well.
During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish
children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and
sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia
and New England. In this decade, 52,000
Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados
Another 30,000 Irish men and women
were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell
ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to
Many people today will avoid calling
the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms
like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However,
in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing
more than human cattle.”