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Before the 1500s

Before Columbus' voyage to Cuba, the island was inhabited by Indians.  They survived mainly on agriculture and fishing.

The three tribes on the island were the Tainos, the Ciboneys, and the Guanajatabeyes.

It was the Taino Indians, a part of the race of Arawaks, who were most common on Cuba.  They had come there during the 1400s from South America.

In Cuba, they lived in a peaceful society.  They farmed such crops as corn, beans, squash, and yams.  The Indians slept in hammocks, which the Spanish would share with the rest of the world after discovering them.

They had some religious beliefs.  The Tainos would hold small gatherings and burn tobacco.  They believed in life after death and a supernatural being.

The Indians wore no clothes, but they did know how to weave.  They hunted for small game, including many birds and ducks.  They fished with harpoons and nets, and kept the fish in small ponds until they were ready to eat them.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus and his ships arrived at the island.  Their mission was to conquer the island, convert the natives, and make money for Spain.

Upon first seeing the Europeans, the Cuban Indians fled.  Eventually Columbus' guides coaxed the Cubans into meeting the Spanish.

Columbus had to return, but left some men on the island.  He would return with others to colonize Cuba and claim it for Spain.

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