Hatuey was a
TaínoCacique (chief) from the islandof Hispaniola, who was alive in the early sixteenth century. He has attained legendary status for leading a group of natives in a fight against the invading Spanish, and thus becoming the second fighter against colonialismin the New Worldafter Anacaona. He is celebrated as " Cuba's First National Hero." [Running Fox, 'The Story of Cacique Hatuey, Cuba's First National Hero', "La Voz del Pueblo Taino (The Voice of the Taino People)" (United Confederation of Taino People, U.S. Regional Chapter, January 1998)]
In 1511, Diego Velázquez set out from Hispaniola to conquer the island of Caobana (
Cuba). He was preceded, however, by Hatuey, who fled Hispaniola with a party of four hundred in canoes and warned the inhabitants of Caobana about what to expect from the Spaniards. [ [http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/oriente/hatuey.htm J. A. Sierra. 'The Legend of Hatuey', "The History of Cuba" (August 2006)] . Retrieved September 92006.] Bartolomé de Las Casaslater attributed the following speech to Hatuey. He showed the Taino of Caobana a basket of gold and jewels, saying: :"Here is the God the Spaniards worship. For these they fight and kill; for these they persecute us and that is why we have to throw them into the sea... They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves. They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters. Incapable of matching us in valor, these cowards cover themselves with iron that our weapons cannot break..." [Bartolomé de Las Casas, "Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies". Translated by Nigel Griffin. (London: Penguin, 1999) ISBN 0-14-044562-5]
The people of Caobana could not believe Hatuey's message, and few joined him to fight. Hatuey resorted to guerrilla tactics against the Spaniards, and was able to confine them to their fort at
Baracoa. Eventually the Spaniards succeeded in capturing him. On February 2, 1512 [ [http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/oriente/hatuey.htm J. A. Sierra. 'The Legend of Hatuey', "The History of Cuba" (August 2006)] . Retrieved September 92006.] , he was tied to a stake and burned alive at Yara [Running Fox, 'The Story of Cacique Hatuey, Cuba's First National Hero', "La Voz del Pueblo Taino (The Voice of the Taino People)" (United Confederation of Taino People, U.S. Regional Chapter, January 1998)] .
Before he was burned, a priest asked him if he would accept
Jesusand go to heaven. Hatuey asked "Are there Spaniards in heaven?" When the priest assured him that there were many, Hatuey replied "If Christians go to heaven, I do not want to go to Heaven". [Running Fox, 'The Story of Cacique Hatuey, Cuba's First National Hero', "La Voz del Pueblo Taino (The Voice of the Taino People)" (United Confederation of Taino People, U.S. Regional Chapter, January 1998)]
The town of Hatuey was named after the Taíno hero and is in the Camaguey province of Cuba. Prior to 1962, the town center included the local general store Hermanos Teichberg, a Guarapo window, a few other stores and the postage stamp size train station. Guajiros used to come into town for shopping, particularly after the "zafra" or sugar harvest. Workers from the nearby Najasa Mill also shopped in town. The rail line running through town was used to ship sugar cane to mills. The canes would fall off or be plucked off by youngsters - to be chewed or made into delicious Guarapo, or sugar cane juice, to be iced for immediate drinking.
References in Popular Culture
Kurt Vonnegut's novel Hocus Pocus, which was published in 1990, and in Leslie Marmon Silko's 1991 novel Almanac of the Dead.
beercalled Hatuey was formerly brewed in Cuba by Bacardibut is now brewed by the Bacardi-owned Indian Head Breweryin Baltimore, Maryland, USA. This light lager(5.5% alcohol by volume) is sold in green bottles with a red label depicting a Taino profile. [ [http://www.realbeer.com/nmvbp/rev_hatu.htm Tom Ciccateri, 'Review of Hatuey Beer', "RealBeer.com" (November 1995)] . Retrieved 9 September2006.]
There is also a Cuban American malta (soft drink) called Hatuey. It has a
Taínoprofile as its logo. [ [http://www.sodapopstop.com/products/detail.cfm?link=75 'Malta Hatuey', "Soda Pop Stop" (2002)] . Retrieved 9 September2006.] In the Dominican Republic there is a hugely popular brand of soda crackers called "Hatuey & Guarina".
List of Taínos
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