Lead: On October 12, 1492 the three ships in Christopher Columbus' tiny squadron made land on San Salvador Island in the eastern Bahamas. He found there a handsome indigenous people of peaceful disposition and of efficient agricultural habits. Within fifty years the Arawak or Tainos were all but wiped out.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He called them, "the best people in the world and above all the gentlest," but Columbus' mind and that of his royal patrons was on gold and silver and the peaceful people of islands were soon found to be expendable. The Arawak immigrated to the eastern Caribbean archipelago from mainland South America and by Columbus' time were found mostly in the Greater Antilles: Cuba, Dominica, and the Bahamas. They had a complex religious and social structure organized around autonomous villages some of which had as many as 3000 inhabitants. Each village was led by hereditary rulers called cacique (kaseke) who were assisted in religious matters by shamans.

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