FEBRUARY 2, 1512

TAINO CACIQUE HATUEY–CUBA’S FIRST NATIONAL HERO–EXECUTED

Hatuey, a Taíno Cacique (Chief), fled his native Hispanola for Cuba with other Taíno in 1511 to warn Cubans about Spanish explorer Diego Velásquez who had just left Hispaniola to colonize Cuba.  On Hispanola, the Spaniards slaughtered a village of two thousand Taíno who had just welcomed and fed them.  Survivors were sent to die in the mines.  In Cuba, Hatuey showed the Cubans a basket of gold and jewels. “Here is the God the Spaniards worship,” he said.  For three months, he attacked the Spaniards, guerilla fashion.  However, through a traitor, Velásquez finally captured him and had him burned alive.  When a priest showed him the cross and asked him to accept Jesus and go to Heaven, he asked “Are there people like you in heaven?” When the priest answered “many,” Hatuey responded that he wanted nothing to do with a God that would allow such cruelty in his name.  Hatuey is one of the first guerilla-style warriors in Cuba’s history and its first martyr for Cuban independence.

Source:  J. A. Sierra, “The Legend of Hatuey,” The History of Cuba, 8/2006).  Retrieved 6/6/2019, http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/oriente/hatuey.htm
Photo:  Michael Zalewski, 9/17/2005.  Permissive use pursuant to Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en

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