The Taíno were an Arawak people who were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico.
The Taíno are the Arawakan-speaking peoples of the Caribbean who had arrived from South America over the course of 4,000 years. The Spanish had hoped to find gold and exotic spices when they landed in the Caribbean in 1492, but there was little gold and the spices were unfamiliar.
DNA evidence shows that most Puerto Ricans are a blending of Taino (Indian), Spanish and African according to studies by Dr. Juan Martinez-Cruzado. Most Puerto Ricans know, or think they know, their ethnic and racial history: a blending of Taino (Indian), Spanish and African.
Modern Taino Heritage Recent research notes a high percentage of mixed or tri-racial ancestry among people in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with those claiming Taíno ancestry also having Spanish and African ancestry.
WHO WERE THE TAINO PEOPLE? The Taíno were an indigenous American people who were among the first to feel the impact of European colonisation after Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492. The group had origins in South America among the Arawak tribes of the vast Orinoco River Delta in eastern Venezuela.
“The closest to the perfect human being, at a genetic level, would have to be Puerto Rican, thanks to its mix of Spanish, African and Taíno heritage, according to the study by a biologist at the American University of Berkeley.
As a result, Puerto Rican bloodlines and culture evolved through a mixing of the Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno and Carib Indian races that shared the island. Today, many Puerto Rican towns retain their Taíno names, such as Utuado, Mayagüez and Caguas.
In appearance the Taino were short and muscular and had a brown olive complexion and straight hair. They wore little clothes but decorated their bodies with dyes. Religion was a very important aspect of their lives and they were mainly an agricultural people although they did have some technological innovations.
The Taino woman’s DNA shores up archaeological evidence about her ancestors and her culture. The two lines of evidence suggest that about 2500 years ago, the woman’s ancestors migrated from the northern coast of South America into the Caribbean, rather than reaching the islands via the Yucatán Peninsula or Florida.
Jamaicans are the citizens of Jamaica and their descendants in the Jamaican diaspora. The vast majority of Jamaicans are of African descent, with minorities of Europeans, East Indians, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and others of mixed ancestry.
Their world, which had its origins among the Arawak tribes of the Orinoco Delta, gradually spread from Venezuela across the Antilles in waves of voyaging and settlement begun around 400 B.C. Mingling with people already established in the Caribbean, they developed self-sufficient communities on the island of Hispaniola