(1,004 words)

1. Term and concept

Cacique was a term first borrowed into Spanish from Arawak by Columbus, and it originally denoted the Taíno chieftains (kassequa) of the island of Hispaniola. During the Conquista and the Spanish colonial period (Colonial empire), it came to be used to categorize authorities and rulers of all kinds and degrees of power in the subjugated indigenous societies of Latin America [1].

The title cacique was used differently from region to region. At first, the local populace continu…

Cite this page
Schüren, Ute, “Cacique”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 23 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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