The History Of The Queen Anacaona

Anacaona (from Taino anacaona, meaning 'golden flower'; 1474–1504) was a Taíno cacique (chief), born in what is now Léogâne, Haiti, into a family of chiefs, and sister of Bohechío, chief of Jaragua. Her husband was Caonabo, chief of the nearby territory of Maguana (located in present-day Dominican Republic). Her brother and her husband were two of the five highest caciques who ruled the island of Kiskeya (Spanish: Quisqueya, now called Hispaniola) when the Spaniards colonized it in 1492. She was celebrated as a composer of ballads and narrative poems, called areítos. Anacaona was born in Yaguana, the capital of Jaragua (present day Léogâne, Haiti)nin 1460. Her name was derived from the Taíno words ana, meaning 'flower', and caona, meaning 'gold, golden.' Anacaona's brother Bohechío was a local chieftain. Anacaona was married with Caonabo, the chieftain of Maguana. Suspected of having organized the destruction of La Navidad (the first Spanish settlement on north-western Hispaniola), Caonabo was captured by Alonso de Ojeda in 1493 and shipped to Spain, dying in a shipwreck during the journey. When Caonabo was captured, Anacaona went to live with her brother the cacique of Jaragua, Bohechío, in whose government she had great influence. Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Christopher Columbus, after founding the city of Santo Domingo in 1498, went with his troops to Jaragua in order to subdue Bohechío and extend to his territory a tribute in gold. However, Bohechío, advised by Anacaona, decided to recognize the sovereignty of the Catholic Monarchs instead of fight, and commit to pay the tribute with products as cotton, bread, corn, fish and other products. Bartholomew accepted this proposal being entertained with parties and food as were the tasty iguanas, and had to charter a caravel to be able to transport the products offered. Anacaona became chief of Jaragua after her brother's death. Anacaona's high status was probably strengthened by elements of matrilineal descent in the Taíno society, as described by Peter Martyr d'Anghiera. Taíno caciques usually passed inheritance to the eldest children of their sisters. If their sisters had no children, then they chose among the children of their brothers, and when there were none, they fell back upon one of their own. Anacaona had one child, named Higuemota, whose dates of birth and death are lost to history. In 1503, the governor of the island Nicolás de Ovando sent word to Anacaona that he was going to Jaragua for a friendly visit. This visit had the pretext of improving the relations between the conquerors and the Indians. Before this visit, Anacaona gathered numerous caciques from the area and offered Ovando and his companions a great reception with dances and parties, the same one he had done years before with Bartholomew Columbus. During the year 1504 and in spite of the demonstrations of friendship offered to the governor, this one continued believing the rumor that the Indians were planning a conspiracy. For that reason, Ovando pretended to reciprocate the honors with which he was received and invited Anacaona and the other caciques to witness a military drill in his honor. The Indians assembled in a large main house of wood and thatched roof, built to house Ovando and his companions. Those on horseback and those on foot began to surround them and when more enthusiastic were the lords, at a agreed signal, all the cavalry with spears and swords attacked violently against them, setting fire to the house and killing many of them. Diego Méndez, one of the protagonists of the fourth voyage of Columbus, lived in Jaragua at that time. He stated in his testament that 84 caciques died. Among the survivors were the little Taino prince Guarocuya, nephew of Anacaona, who was later handed over to Fray Bartolomé de las Casas to watch over him, and who would later be known as Enriquillo; Higuemota, the daughter of Anacaona; Mencia the granddaughter of Anacaona and the tribal leader Hatuey, who later escaped to Cuba. Once in Cuba he organized the resistance, but was captured in battle and killed. Anacaona was transferred to Santo Domingo, and three months later she was tried and sentenced to death hanged, punishment that was applied at that time to the accused of conspiracy. Ovando's performance in this act is one of the most inexplicable and cruel acts of his rule. The impact of this punishment quickly reached Queen Isabella I of Castile, who promptly dismissed him from her deathbed upon hearing of his actions. Her immortalization in the intertwining histories of Haiti and the Dominican Republic has resulted in the use of her name for various places in both countries. Many in Haiti claim her as a significant icon in early Haitian history and a primordial founder of their country. Renowned Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat wrote an award-winning novel, from The Royal Diaries series, Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490, in dedication to the fallen chief, and a more recent novel has appeared about Anacaona, "Ayiti's Taíno Queen/Anacaona, La Reine Taíno d'Ayiti" by Maryse N. Roumain, PhD. She is immortalized in music by Haitian folk singers Ansy and Yole Dérose in "Anacaona", as well as by Puerto Rican salsa composer Tite Curet Alonso in his song "Anacaona" and in Irka Mateo's "Anacaona". Cheo Feliciano's first track of his first solo album, "Cheo", is "Anacaona".


Anacaona Museum Bayahibe

Anacaona Museum Photo Gallery 01

Anacaona Museum Photo Galery 03


Museo Reina Anakaona S.R.L. RNC 132019972 Bayahibe Higuey - Director Daniele Caccialanza