Studied in race crossing VI. The Indian remnants in Eastern Cuba

Studied in race crossing VI. The Indian remnants in Eastern Cuba

Volume 27, Number 1 (1954)
pages 65-96
DOI: 10.1007/BF01664155

R. Ruggles Gates
Department of Anthropology
Harvard University

A preliminary account was given at the 30th International Americanist Congress, Cambridge, England, August, 1952. Received for publication July 27, 1953

This paper is in one aspect a study of the later stages of absorption of a race surviving in small numbers in a more numerous population of another race. In that respect it resembles the study of a small Negro element being partly absorbed into a Caucasian population in Canada (Gates 1953a). But in the present case the miscegenation of the Indians in Cuba has been first with the Spaniards and more recently with Negroes. It shows that the absorption of small numbers of one race in another requires many centuries before it is complete. The history of the Basques in Western France and Northern Spain shows that, even where the physical differences are of a very minor character, the differences in customs and in location will lead to the persistence of a race within a larger population for many millenia. The physical differences, where they exist, will persist indefinitely, long after the cultural differences have disappeared.

It has frequently been stated that the Indians of Cuba were exterminated by A.D. 1600, but this is not strictly true. Pichardo Moya (1945), who gives a full bibliography of Cuban history and archeology, quotes Morrell, who wrote before 1760, that traces of the last Indians still existed in the vicinity of Bayamo, Canéy and Jiguaní, possibly in Pinar del Río, around Alquízar, and certainly in Oriente. Pichardo…

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