When Columbus landed in the Caribbean in 1492, the first humans he encountered were the Taino, an Arawak people who were the principal inhabitants of what are now Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. They spoke Taino.

Although the language is now extinct, many Taino words have become a part of the local languages of the Caribbean and in the modern English language of today such as barbeque, canoe, and hurricane. Also, the name of Haiti comes from the indigenous Taino language which was the native name given to the entire island of Hispaniola to mean “land of high mountains.” Boukan, which translates into bonfire, is another word that we inherited from the Taino language.

More about boukan from our online dictionary

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