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) were the original inhabitants of the Bahamas before the arrival of Europeans.They were a branch of the Taínos who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands at the time.The Lucayans were the first inhabitants of the Americas encountered by Christopher Columbus.The Spanish started seizing Lucayans as slaves within a few years of Columbus's arrival, and they had all been removed from the Bahamas by 1520.Other information about the customs of the Lucayans has come from archaeological investigations and comparison with what is known of Taino culture in Cuba and Hispaniola.The Lucayans were distinguished from the Tainos of Cuba and Hispaniola in the size of their houses, the organization and location of their villages, the resources they used, and the materials used in their pottery.
(The Taino word for "island", cairi, became cayo in Spanish and "cay" Some crania and artifacts of "Ciboney type" were reportedly found on Andros Island, but if some Ciboney did reach the Bahamas ahead of the Lucayans, they left no known evidence of occupation.
Some possible "Ciboney" archaeological sites have been found elsewhere in the Bahamas, but the only one subjected to radiocarbon dating dated to the mid- to late-12th century, contemporaneous with Lucayan occupation of the islands.
Christopher Columbus's diario is the only source of first-hand observations of the Lucayans.
The settlement sites in the Caicos Islands differ from those found elsewhere in the Bahamas, resembling sites in Hispaniola associated with the Classic Taino chiefdoms that arose after 1200. [48 mi.]) than any other island in the Bahamas, and sites on Great Inagua contain large quantities of sand-tempered pottery imported from Cuba and/or Hispaniola, while sites on other islands in the Bahamas contain more shell-tempered pottery ("Palmetto Ware"), which developed in the Bahamas.
William Keegan argues that the sites on Caicos therefore represent a settlement after 1200 by Tainos from Hispaniola seeking salt from the natural salt pans on the island. While trade (in dugout canoes) between Cuba and Long Island was reported by Columbus, this involved a voyage of at least 260 km.
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(156 mi.) over open water, although much of that was on the very shallow waters of the Great Bahama Bank.