Sunday, April 18, 2010


Did You Know: In 1519 on the island of Kiskeia (Dominican Republic) a Kasike named Guarokuia led a rebellion against the Spanish colonizers that lasted until 1533. As a result of this major defeat for the Spanish Crown the first treaty between Indigenous Peoples and a European Power was signed in the Western hemisphere. Guarokuia and several thousand other Taino were given lands in the area known as Boya. Much earlier Guarokuia's father had died in a Spanish raid against a non-violent Indian demonstration in Jaragua and he was raised in a monastery in Santo Domingo where he received his Christian name Enriquillo. One of his mentors was Bartolome de las Casas. Guarokuia was a nephew of Kasike Anacaona and the heir to the hereditary cheifdom of Jaragua. Guarokuia also had a wife, called Mencía, later Doña Mencía due to his relations with the Spaniards. Mencia was raped by a Spaniard named Andrés de Valenzuela and when Guarokuia attempted to take the offense to the Spanish courts, he was told nothing could be done since it was the word of an Indian woman (Mencia) against that of a Spaniard. Seeing that his situation had no recourse he lead a group of loyal followers into the Bahoruco mountains and this began his historic war against the Spaniards. In 1882 a 91-year-old woman by the name of Josefa Gonzalez, who along with other neighbors affirmed that Kasike Guarokuia (Enriquillo) and his wife Mencia were buried in a tomb in the center of the church in the town of Boya. In a related story, General Don Pedro Santana who after being elected President of the Dominican Republic, assigned a pension to an "Indian" woman of Boya claiming to be a descendant of one of the other chiefs under Enriquillo. - UCTP Taino News © 2010