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Friday, January 21, 2011

Yuiza...Female Taino Cacique

When I set out to write Enchanted Island, I knew, for sure that, I wanted to have a strong female character. Not only, did I want a strong female character but, I wanted her to be Hispanic/Latina. In doing my research I came across a woman who, sadly, I had not heard of before. I learned things that, I only had vague knowledge about, prior to writing Enchanted Island. One of the reasons why I'm so happy that I wrote the book. Yuiza, (Yuisa, Loaiza, Luisa, Loiza) was one of two, Taino female caciques (chiefs) in all of the Caribbean, in her time.

When the Spaniards came to Puerto Rico they enslaved the Tainos, who were native to the land. The Tainos could not adjust to the harsh treatment. Many were killed or died of illness. The Spaniards then took the Taino women as their wives. Legend has it that, Yuiza became involved with, Mulatto Conquistador, Pedro Mejias. Much to the dismay of others. They were said to have married. Back then, the Taino women were forced to abandon their religious beliefs and, get baptized Catholic, in order to marry a Spaniard. Yuiza angered some, by accepting the Spaniard's God. Her own tribal people saw her as a hero, as she saved many lives by taking a Spaniard husband. However, other Taino caciques saw her as a traitor and, killed her. While there is no actual proof that the marriage took place, many believe that the area known as Loiza, Puerto Rico was named after Yuiza. The legend may just give merit to the mix in Loiza of, Africans and Taino Indians.

When I came across this legend, it made such an impression on me. I then saw a painting of artist, Samuel Lind's, interpretation of Yuiza. She appeared, beautiful and strong. That's when, all my ideas came together. My book is categorized as, historical fiction. The following is the author's note:

In writing this story, I wanted to convey the rich history of Puerto
Rico in an entertaining way. I have always been fascinated by the
idea of reincarnation and, past lives. I am also a firm believer in
Karma and, wanted to incorporate these ideas into the story.
Although, this work includes the real names of people in history, it
is in no way a statement of fact. The story is purely of my imagination
and, strictly for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy the ride.

Enchanted Island starts out one way, and ends up a whole other. Will you decide to take the ride? :)

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