One is that the vast majority of Puerto Rican Tainos were savages living in caves. That goes completely contrary to what historians who were there and recorded what they saw tell us and contrary to modern archeological findings which verifiy their testimony.
Taínos lived in metropolises called yucayeques, which varied in size depending on the location; those in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) being the largest and those in the Bahamas being the smallest. In the center of a typical village was a plaza used for various social activities such as games, festivals, religious rituals, and public ceremonies. These plazas had many shapes including oval, rectangular, or narrow and elongated. Ceremonies where the deeds of the ancestors were celebrated, called areitos, were performed here. Often, the general population lived in large circular buildings (bohios), constructed with wooden poles, woven straw, and palm leaves. These houses would surround the central plaza and could hold 10-15 families. The cacique and his family would live in rectangular buildings (caney) of similar construction, with wooden porches. Taíno home furnishings included cotton hammocks (hamaca), mats made of palms, wooden chairs (dujo) with woven seats, platforms, and cradles for children.
Columbus and his crew, landing on an island in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, were the first Europeans to encounter the Taíno people. Columbus wrote:
They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will..they took great delight in pleasing us..They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal..Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people ..They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing.
Culture and lifestyle
Taíno society was divided into two classes: naborias (commoners) and nitaínos (nobles). These were governed by chiefs known as caciques (who were either male or female), who were advised by priests/healers known as bohiques. Bohiques were extolled for their healing powers and ability to speak with gods and as a result, they granted Taínos permission to engage in important tasks.
Taínos lived in a matrilineal society. When a male heir was not present the inheritance or succession would go to the oldest child (son or daughter) of the deceased's sister. The Taínos had avunculocal post-marital residence meaning a newly married couple lived in the household of the maternal uncle.
The Taínos were very experienced in agriculture and lived a mainly agrarian lifestyle but also fished and hunted. A frequently worn hair style featured bangs in front and longer hair in back.
They sometimes wore gold jewelry, paint, and/or shells. Taíno men sometimes wore short skirts. Taíno women wore a similar garment (nagua) after marriage. Some Taíno practiced polygamy. Men, and sometimes women, might have two or three spouses, and it was noted that some caciques would even marry as many as 30 wives.
Taínos used cotton and palm extensively for fishing nets and ropes. Their dugout canoes (kanoa) were made in various sizes, which could hold from two to 150 people. An average sized canoe would hold about 15–20 people. They used bows and arrows, and sometimes put various poisons on their arrowheads. For warfare, they employed the use of a wooden war club, which they called a macana, that was about one inch thick and was similar to the coco macaque.
Reconstruction of Taino village, Cuba.JPG