Cacicazgo is a phonetic Spanish transliteration (or a derivative) of the Taíno word for the lands ruled by a cacique.[1]


  • Use of the term "cacicazgo" 1
  • Quasi-equivalence to minor kingdom 2
  • Extended use of the word in political context 3
  • References 4

Use of the term "cacicazgo"

This term is found in contexts such as "la princesa de Cofachiqui, señora de un cacigazgo indígena"[3] or, for example: "In November of 1493, the island of Boriquén had approximately 20 cacigazgos."[2] According to Spanish chronicles, the cacique was at the apex of the Taíno feudal structure. Bartolomé de las Casas refers to these cacigazgos as kingdoms.

Quasi-equivalence to minor kingdom

Given the extent of the lands he ruled, a Taíno cacique was a minor prince, somewhere between an Irish king and a clan leader in Scotland, in terms of his power. Anthony Lane, in reference to the father of Pocahontas, Powhatan, equates the paramount leader of an indigenous American Nation (commonly, but less precisely, called a "tribe"), who is supreme in rank, power, or authority [4], to a "local king".

Extended use of the word in political context

By extension the word is used in Latin American politics to denote the area controlled by a strong semi-permanent political leader (see Wiesheu Forster, 1996).


  1. ^
  2. ^
  • Bartolomé de las Casas. A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, translated by Nigel Griffin. Penguin Books, 1992. ISBN 0-14-044562-5
  • Lane, Anthony, 2005, The Other: "Munich," "Hidden," and "The New World." In: The Current Cinema section of The New Yorker, December 26, 2005 & January 2, 2006. p. 151.
  • Wiesheu Forster, Walburga. 1996, Cacigazgo y estado arcaico: la evolución de organizaciones sociopolíticas complejas. INAH (Colección Científica, 310), México.

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