by Larry Smith
•Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles by Dr Julian Granberry was published in 2004 by the University of Alabama Press. It is available in Nassau bookstores.
When Columbus landed in the Bahamas in 1492 – after sailing the ocean blue - there were some 3,000 native Indian groups living in the Americas.
But the only Indians that Columbus himself saw were the Tainos of the Caribbean - including the Bahamian Lucayans - a society that the Europeans completely destroyed in a few short years.
Although Columbus and his brothers were men of their times, the brutal subjugation of Taino societies really began in 1502, under the direction of Nicolas de Ovando. Within two decades they ceased to exist as a separate population due to forced labour, warfare, disease, emigration and outmarriage.
And the whole regional culture officially expired in 1797, when the British deported the last independent group of Indians from St Vincent to Central America.