Epidemics, Slavery, Massacres, and Indigenous Resistance 1492-1599


Arawak resistance and mass suicides

Image: Theodor de Bry
Image: Theodor de Bry

Facing extermination, the Arawak organize and attempt to fight back against the Spaniards. Overwhelmed by Spanish military, the Arawak when captured are burned at the stake or hanged. Arawak begin committing mass suicides to avoid capture and subjugation, feeding cassava poison to their infants. In just two years, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti are dead through murder, mutilation, or suicide. By 1550, there are only 500 documented Arawak and by 1650, with the possible exception of a few remnant Arawak in the mountains, most have been annihilated (Zinn, 1950).

Traumatic Event

Native Resistance