People’s History: The First Rebel


On 2 February 1512, Spanish conquistadors burned Taíno Cacique Hatuey alive near BayamoCuba. He was among the first indigenous people to lead organized resistance to European colonialism in the Americas.

Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas attributed the following words to Hatuey:

“They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves. They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters. Incapable of matching us in valor, these cowards cover themselves with iron that our weapons cannot break.”

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