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Native House in Hispaniola, from Oviedo (1547)


In Fernandina [Long island] Columbus and his party first described Taino villages: "The houses are all like tents and very high and with good chimneys, but... I have not seen... [a village] of more than... twelve to fifteen houses. [Journal, Oct. 17, 1492]. About ten days later, landing in Cuba at Bahia Bariay, near a fishing camp, "the Admiral ...went to shore, and he came to two houses, which he believed to be those of fishermen who fled from terror ... In each one of the houses many persons lived together" [Journal, Oct. 28, 1492]. Next day  at  río de Mares (Puerto Gibara), larger houses "looked like tents in a camp, with no regular streets, but one here and another there. Inside, they were well swept and clean, with their furnishings... made of very beautiful palm branches... ". Reaching Cuba's eastern end on December 5, Columbus crossed over to Hispaniola, where the Spaniards remained another month among large Taino populations. The houses on this island,  second in size after Cuba among the Greater Antilles, were were later described by Oviedo, a 16th century Spanish historian.

[Fig.1: Native house in Hispaniola (Oviedo 1547). ]


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