Did Taíno natives work as slaves or sailors on 16th-century Spanish ships in early to mid-sixteenth century?

  • 1
    Are you asking if this ever happened or if this was commonplace? Also you may want to clarify what you mean by "work" on a ship. Would being a personal servant to a ship's officer count or do you mean as a general member of the ship's crew?
    – Steve Bird
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:25
  • Commonplace as either as sailors or servants. Thanks.
    – kwieder
    Aug 4, 2017 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


I've checked the Spanish primary sources and according to Alonso Peña Montenegro (1596-1688), Itinerario paraparochos, the Taínos were employed as carenadores (repairers of the hull), taking them in the ships.

Because he talks about those indios at the same time as other sailors, probably they weren't slaves.

  • ....'repairers of the hull' -- does this mean they worked on re-caulking while ship was beached or worked to repair from inside while ship was underway - like storm damage for example?
    – kwieder
    Aug 4, 2017 at 14:11
  • He didn't add more details but the verb carenar usually means reparations made when the ship is beached. Aug 4, 2017 at 14:16
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Careening Jul 3, 2018 at 18:53

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