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Creation

To help explain how the Taino people reacted to the Spanish invasion, it is essential to understand their creationist beliefs:

In the beginning, Atabei created the earth, the sky, and the celestial bodies. She had always existed and was the great creationist force. There was no life, however, and no light. The universe resembled a deep, profound dream and remained this way for a long time.

One day, Atabei realized that something was indeed missing. She had two sons who she named Yucaju and Guacar. Yucaju noticed that there was no light or life in the universe, so Atabei let her son continue her creation. He created the sun and the moon to illuminate the earth, which he made fertile. Plants and trees followed, along with animals and birds to live among them.

Finally, Yucaju decided to create something new: something in between a god and an animal. He named the first man Locuo, who lived peacefully in his Creator's world.

Guacar was envious of his brother's work, however. He began to destroy the plants and trees, and changed his name to become the evil god of destruction, Juracan.

Juracan could move the wind with such force that he could easily rip trees from their roots and kill many of the animals. Locuo was no longer content and feared the destructive powers of Juracan, but continued to live alone in the earth. One day, inspired by all of the beauty in the world, Locuo opened his navel and created two creatures like himself: a man and a woman. The man was named Guaguyona and the woman was named Yaya. Their children populated the earth.

The descendants of Guaguyona and Yaya continued to suffer Juracan's wrath. He would send strong winds and floods, and evil spirits who caused problems for them in their daily lives. The spirits, or maboyas, would break their canoes, throw rocks at their houses, and spread diseases.

That is how the Tainos explained natural phenomena and the origin of good and evil. The Caribes, a tribe who had been trying to invade Puerto Rico, were thought to be evil. They were fierce warriors who in their routine attacks would destroy villages and kidnap women. The Tainos were convinced that the Caribes were also sent by Juracan. They prayed that Yucaju would send a holy army to help fight these enemies.

When the Spanish arrived in Puerto Rico, the native people were certain that these were the ones sent by Yucaju. Unfortunately, they were mistaken.


Introduction
Salcedo's Death
The Snake's Path