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On “Guanahatabeys”, “Siboneys”, and “Indians”: The Aborigines of Cuba in the 16th – First Half of the 17th Century

[“Guanakhatabei”, “sibonei”, “indeitsy”: aborigeny Kuby v XVI – pervoi polovine XVII v.]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522060100


Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 19.01.2022

Accepted: 09.08.2022

About author(s)

Eduard Aleksandrenkov | http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2139-7353 | ed_alex@mail.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky
prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)


Cuba, Indians, Guanahatabeyes, Ciboneyes, encomienda, pueblo de indios


In the available Spanish sources related to the period when Spain conquered and colonized Cuba (the first quarter of the 16th century), there are but two words by which various groups of the local population were addressed – Guanahatabeyes and Ciboneyes. In the later periods, the Spanish did not use these ethnonyms and referred to all natives as Indians. During the first colonization years, the numbers of native residents of the island significantly decreased. Furthermore, they kept mixing with the Spanish. In Cuba, however, a distinctive population category such as mestizo did not take shape, and individuals of mixed ancestry would be uniformly called Indians by the mid-17th century. Moreover, this word became a self-designation for a part, albeit small, of the island’s population. This article attempts to explore these historical transformations which have not received enough attention in scholarly literature.


Aleksandrenkov, E.G. 2022. “Guanakhatabei”, “sibonei”, “indeitsy”: aborigeny Kuby v XVI v. – pervoi polovine XVII v. [On “Guanahatabeys”, “Siboneys”, and “Indians”: The Aborigines of Cuba in the 16th – First Half of the 17th Century]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 178–195 https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522060100 EDN: MRVFZP

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