(died 1511) was a Spanish
soldier who allegedly lived during the colonization of the Americas
. According to legend he became an unwitting part of Puerto Rico
's history through his death at the hands of Taíno
Indians testing to see if he was a god
. This discovery led the Indians to fight against the Spaniards.
Although the story of Salcedo is mentioned in many books and taught in schools, many historians believe it was invented to raise a sentiment of fear and anger against the Taínos, and justify the colonization, slavery, and subsequent genocide of them.
According to the story, Salcedo died in 1511, during a trip to Puerto Rico, when Taíno
Indians, under the command of Agueybana II
(brother of the great Taino Cacique Agueybana
) and the Cacique of Añasco
, drowned him in the Rio Grande de Añasco
to find out if people from Spain really were "Gods
", as the Taínos believed. Historically, two versions about how Salcedo was lured to his death have collided. Many books assert that the soldier had been told he'd be taken to a lake filled with Taíno women that he could have sex
with, and, once there, he found not women, but men who then proceeded to drown him. The other version has Salcedo being offered a ride across a river by Taínos who carried him on their arms, and then drowned him and kept him for days, afraid he'd still be alive and until they were certain he was dead. After Salcedo's death, the Taíno Indians were encouraged to declare war on the Spaniards
in Puerto Rico. This led to the Taino rebelion of 1511
However, the Indians were quickly defeated due to the Spaniards' better weaponry and war expertise.
A local-legend tells of a ghostly Indian woman, supposedly Salcedo's lover, that still haunts the site of his drowning at present-day Añasco. This belief is exemplified by a verse in the town's anthem:
Salcedo in Popular Culture
Salcedo is referenced in a song of Puerto Rican rock
band Fiel a la Vega
. The song is titled "El Asunto: Salcedo Sigue Siendo Mortal" (The Issue: Salcedo is still a Mortal) and it makes a comparison between the Spaniards
' rule in the island and the United States
' invasion of 1898.
- Scarano, Francisco (1993). "Puerto Rico: Cinco Siglos de Historia", McGraw Hill, ISBN 958-600-050-8.