Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Guainia History

Guainia (Guaynia) is the name of a traditional indigenous Taino territory that stretched along the southern coastal area of Boriken (Puerto Rico) extending to the interior of the island in pre-Columbian times. Comprising many villages - each retaining their own local leadership - Guainia was the largest of all the indigenous territories encountered on the island when Columbus arrived off its coast in 1493.

The principal Kasike (Chieftain/leader) of this territory was Agueibana (Agueybana) the elder, a powerful orator who was documented as being the most politically influential indigenous leader on the island. His home iukaieke (yucayeque/village) was said to lie close to the rio/river Guaynia. Many historians claim that the site of this village is located in the area of the municipality of Guayanilla while others claim it was in Guanica. The entire traditional territory however historically covered all or parts of present-day localities such as Cabo Rojo, Hormigueros, Lajas, San German, Sabana Grande, Guanica, Yauco, Guayanilla, Adjuntas, Peñuelas, Ponce, Juana Diaz, Villalba, Santa Isabel, Coamo, and Salinas.

Even beyond Boriken, Guainia or Guaynia as an Arawakan language term extended across the islands, and as far as South America. For example, the was a region called Guainia in Cuba recorded among the Taino of that island. The Organization for Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), which represents 56 indigenous groups from six departments includes Guaynia. In the Orinoco region of Venezuela, a river known commonly as “el rio negro” was traditionally known by the Lokono Arawaks of Venezuela as Guaynia.

1 comment:

bikerlou said...

I.m a member of UCTP my family came from Yauco,Guanica,Ensenada is great to a see the southwestern area of Boriqen being represented