Taino Woman Grinding Cassava Root

Price: $46.00


Team Miniatures

Christopher Columbus had arrived at the islands we now know as the Bahamas, which were home to the Taino people. The Tainos were amazed to see strange, bearded men who covered their bodies with clothes. They thought that the Spaniards had come down from the sky.
Columbus travelled from island to island, visiting Taino villages. Some of the villages were more like towns, with up to 1,000 huts and 5,000 inhabitants.
Believing he was in the Indies, Columbus naturally assumed that the islanders were Indians. He could see that they were not Europeans or Africans. As far as he knew, this was what Asian people looked like. Columbus’s mistake means that, to this day, Native Americans are still called “Indians”.

When they were first encountered by Europeans, the Taino practiced a high-yielding form of shifting agriculture to grow their staple foods, cassava and yams. They would burn the forest or scrub and then heap the ashes and soil into mounds that could be easily planted, tended, and irrigated. Corn (maize), beans, squash, tobacco, peanuts (groundnuts), and peppers were also grown, and wild plants were gathered. 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.
Traditional Taino settlements ranged from small family compounds to groups of 3,000 people. Houses were built of logs and poles with thatched roofs. Men wore loincloths and women wore aprons of cotton or palm fibres. Both 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.