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Tituba was the first person accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts. “Witch” redirects here. ... 1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as Mary Walcott The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings by local magistrates and county court trials to prosecute people alleged to have committed acts of witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex Counties of Massachusetts in 1692... Events February 13 - Massacre of Glencoe March 1 - The Salem witch trials begin in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony with the charging of three women with witchcraft. ... Danvers is a town located in Essex County, Massachusetts. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ...


Prior to the trials

Tituba was born in a small Arawak village in South America [1]. As a child she was captured and taken as a slave to the island of Barbados, in the Caribbean. While living on the island she was bought by Samuel Parris to care for his home. Sometime during the 1680’s Samuel Parris moved his family and his slave, Tituba, along with another slave he had purchased named John Indian from Barbados to Boston, Massachusetts. In 1689 Samuel Parris became Minister of Salem Village and began to preach in the Village, that same year Tituba and John Indian were married.[2][3]. Arowak woman (John Gabriel Stedman) The term Arawak (from aru, the Lokono word for cassava flour), was used to designate the Amerindians encountered by the Spanish in the West Indies. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... Wiktionary has related dictionary definitions, such as: slave Slave may refer to: Slavery, where people are owned by others, and live to serve their owners without pay Slave (BDSM), a form of sexual and consenual submission Slave clock, in technology, a clock or timer that synchrnonizes to a master clock... West Indies redirects here. ... Reverend Samuel Parris (1653-1720) Samuel Parris (1653 – February 27, 1720) was the Puritan minister in the town of Salem Village (now Danvers, Massachusetts) during the Salem witch trials, as well as the father and uncle of two of the afflicted girls. ... Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ...

Salem witch trials

Tituba was the first person accused of being a witch in Salem Village which eventually led to several other men and women in Salem and the surrounding areas to be accused of witchcraft[4]. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Witchcraft. ...

Tituba was first accused by 9-year-old Betty Parris, minister Samuel Parris’s daughter, and her 11-year-old cousin Abigail Williams, who also lived in the Parris home. The two girls claimed to be bitten and pinched while they slept. The girls also began having fits, seizures, and comatose trances, which were eventually blamed on Tituba after Dr. Griggs diagnosed an "evil hand" upon the girls. The girls' claims included accusations that they felt Tituba in their dreams pinching and biting them, then whispering in their ears to cause their fits[5]. After shuving up her anusElizabeth Betty Parris (November 28, 1682 – March 21, 1760) was the nine-year-old daughter of the Salem villages reverend Samuel Parris (1653–1720) and was the first to become ill after being bewitched as most people thought. ... Abigail Williams testimony against George Jacobs, Jr. ... This article is about the medical condition. ... For other uses, see Coma (disambiguation). ... Trance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...

Tituba was believed to practice folk magic, and indeed led a group of village girls in specific divinatory practices from time to time. It is known that the Parris’s neighbor, Mary Sibley, asked Tituba to bake a witchcake, a cake made from rye and the urine of the afflicted girls, which they then fed to a dog. When the dog fell into fits as well, the girls grew dramatically worse.

Tituba was formally accused of bewitching the two girls on March 1, 1692, and brought forth in a hearing with two other women of the village, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. Sarah Good (July 14, 1653 - July 19, 1692) was one of the first three people to be accused and convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. ... Sarah Osborne (also variously spelled Osbourne, Osburne, etc. ...

Tituba at first denied that she cast a spell on any of the afflicted girls, now numbering at least a half-dozen, but when pushed confessed to witchcraft and implicated the other two women accused, as well as mentioning that there were other witches in the village as well. The ensuing search for witches led to more than 170, and perhaps as many as 300, people being arrested for witchcraft, with twenty executed for the crime.

Tituba remained in custody for the duration of the Salem witch trials. Parris refused to pay her jail fees after she was cleared; instead, an unknown person from Virginia paid her fees in the amount of seven pounds. Tituba's ultimate fate is unknown.

Historical importance

The effects of the accusation of Tituba and her confession allowed the Salem witchcraft trials to take place. If Tituba had not confessed to being a witch and afflicting the Parris girls, then there may never have been a witchcraft trial in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. With Tituba’s false confession Salem Village was allowed to play out all of the anger, fustration, and hysteria that it held pent up within its society. Hysteria is a diagnostic label applied to a state of mind, one of unmanageable fear or emotional excesses. ...

Historical debate

The physical description of Tituba from the first time she was studied by a historian to the present study of her life has had controversy surrounding it. The argument of Tituba’s ancestry has gained more and more attention day by day. In the beginning of the scholarly study of Tituba it was considered to be an assumed fact that Tituba was of Indian descent[6]. But over time the origins of Tituba have begun to be re-evaluated and old theories have been contested. One scholar who disagrees with the old theory that Tituba was Indian is Maryse Conde[7]. Condé tells the story of Tituba from a narrative and fictional point of view. Conde describes Tituba as being a African slave whose mother was raped on her passage over from Africa and then had Tituba after she arrived in Barbados. This account of Tituba’s origins does not claim to rely on facts for all of its evidence, but since there is no way to conclude, with certainty, where Tituba was from today's evidence Conde feels that she could be correct in her assumptions. In Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem Elaine G.Breslaw, writes

according to local legend, Tituba and her husband, John, “were spoken of as having come from New Spain…that is, the Spanish West Indies, and the adjacent mainland,” is borne out by the record of known slave-capturing activities in South America.

Breslaw believes that Tituba was an Arawak Indian from Guiana who was either kidnapped or then brought to Barbados or her tribe had migrated there though South America. While Breslaw relies more on factual evidence then Conde her argument can not be considered any more reliable due to no clear evidence that disputes either theory. The debate over whether Tituba was of Indian ethnicity or of African ancestry can not be resolved today with the evidence available today. One scholar who tries to explain why the debate cannot be resolved is Veta Smith Ticker[8]. Smith writes Arowak woman (John Gabriel Stedman) The term Arawak (from aru, the Lokono word for cassava flour), was used to designate the Amerindians encountered by the Spanish in the West Indies. ... Guiana (also known as the Guiana highlands or the Guiana shield) forms a portion of the northern coast of South America. ...

17th-century Puritans blended the categories Indian, African, and slave. In seventeenth century Massachusetts, such discriminations among unregenerate peoples of color were considered unnecessary, especially for slaves. By 1692 (exactly 2 centuries after first contact)Columbus' misnaming had yielded a catchall term variously applied to the Guanahani, the Caribbe, the Aztecs, and West Indies Africans. World map showing location of Africa A satellite composite image of Africa Africa is the worlds second_largest continent in both area and population, after Asia. ... Guanahani was the name the natives gave to the island that Columbus called San Salvador when he first arrived at the Americas. ... Carib family (by John Gabriel Stedman) Drawing of a Carib woman Carib, Island Carib or Kalinago people, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named, live in the Lesser Antilles islands. ... The word Aztec is usually used as a historical term, although some contemporary Nahuatl speakers would consider themselves Aztecs. ... The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. ...

This passage from the Ticker article sets the background on how the debate over the ethnicity of Tituba’s origins can still be going today. Since there was no clear distinction by the Puritans on the racial differences between Indians, Africans, and slaves it remains hard to truly identify Tituba’s origin. This however is not the only reason for the scholarly debate over the identity of Tituba. Another reason is covered by Chadwick Hansen. In Hansen's article the issue of the racial identity of witches during Puritan times is addressed. Hansen states [9]

Over the years the magic Tituba practiced has been changed by historians and dramatists from English, to India, to African. More startlingly, her own race has been changed from Indian, to half-Indian and half-Negro, to Negro…There is no evidence to support these changes, but there is an instructive lesson in American historiography to be read in them.

Hansen explains that due to further research into Tituba’s origins American historians feel more comfortable with labeling Tituba a practicer of Indian, or African magic as long as it is not connected to any form of European magic. These sources show why the historical debate over Tituba’s beginning are just as relevant as the part that Tituba played in the Salem witch trials.


Tituba, as portrayed in the 19th century by artist Alfred Fredericks in W. C. Bryant's "A Popular History of the United States"
Tituba, as portrayed in the 19th century by artist Alfred Fredericks in W. C. Bryant's "A Popular History of the United States"

Tituba is the protagonist of the novel I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem (1982) by Maryse Condé, she also featured prominently in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The image of Tituba as the instigator of witchcraft at Salem fed into the popular mindset by the opening scene of The Crucible, which owes much to Marion L. Starkey’s work "The Devil in Massachusetts" (1949). Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Maryse Condé (born 1937) is a Guadeloupean, French language author of historical fiction, best known for her novel Segu (1984-1985). ... For other uses, see Crucible (disambiguation). ... Arthur Bob Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright and essayist. ... Marion Lena Starkey (Born April 13, 1901, in Worcester, Massachusetts, Died December 18, 1992 in Saugus, Massachusetts) is the author of a number of history books. ...

In the play, Tituba was brought to Salem from Barbados, was told to know how to conjure up spirits, and had allegedly dabbled in sorcery, witchcraft, and Satanism. These fictional accounts hold that Abigail Williams and the other girls tried to use her knowledge when dancing in the woods before the trials began; it was, in fact, their being caught that preceded those events. With the original intention of covering up their own sinful deeds, Tituba was the one to be accused by Abigail, who had in fact drank from a magic cup Tituba made, to kill John Proctor's wife Elizabeth and to bewitch him into loving her. She and the other girls claimed to have seen Tituba "with the Devil." Not to be confused with Magic (illusion). ... Satanism can refer to a number of belief systems depending on the user and contexts. ... Abigail Williams testimony against George Jacobs, Jr. ... This page is about sin in the context of religion. ... This is an overview of the Devil. ...

It is ironic that the belief that Tituba led these girls astray has persisted in popular lore, fiction and non fiction alike. The charge, which is seen by some as having barely disguised racial undertones, is based on the imagination of authors like Starkey, who eerily mirrors Salem’s accusers when she asserts that "I have invented the scenes with Tituba .... but they are what I really believe happened."

Tituba is also the main character in the book "Tituba of Salem Village" by Ann Petry. This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

It should be noted that according to I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem, Tituba was born in Barbados as the result of an English sailor raping her mother, Abena (who had "jet black skin", which is evidence that Abena and Tituba were of African descent, rather than Indian). The book also says that Abena (as well as two male slaves bought with her) were Ashantis. In the book, Tituba is never associated by blood with any Indian people. Though this book is fiction on all accounts. The Ashanti (cf Asante) are a major ethnic group from Africa. ...


  1. ^ Tituba. Retrieved on 2007-10-25.
  2. ^ Ann Petry, "Tituba of Salem Village." (New York: Ftzhenry and Whiteside limited, 1964)
  3. ^ Salem Witch Trails, the world behind the hysteria. Retrieved on 2007-11-13.
  4. ^ Mary Beth Norton, "In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft crisis of 1692." (New York: Alfred K. Knopf, 2002)
  5. ^ Lori Lee Wilson, "The Salem witch trials:How History is invented." (Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1997)
  6. ^ Elaine G. Breslaw, "Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies." (New York: New York University Press, 1996)
  7. ^ Maryse Conde, "I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem 1992." (New York: Ballantine Books, 1994)
  8. ^ Veta Smith Ticker,"Purloined Identity: The Racial metamorphosis of Tituba of Salem Village." Journal of Black Studies (March 2000) 624-634.
  9. ^ Chadwick Hansen, " The Metamorphosis of Tituba, or Whey American Intellectuals Can’t Tell an Indian Witch from a Negro." The New England Quarterly 47 (March 1974) 3-12.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • Link to Salem witchcraft video[1]
  • Link to information on Barbados[2]

  Results from FactBites:
THE SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS: A biographical sketch of Tituba. (399 words)
Tituba was an Indian woman, not (as commonly believed) a Negro slave.
Tituba and John were married in 1689 about the time the Parris family moved to Salem.
Tituba was the first witch to confess in Salem, and she likely did it to avoid further punishment.
Salem Witch Trials - The People - Tituba - DiscoverySchool.com (456 words)
Tituba was born in a small village in South America, but as a child she was captured and taken to the Caribbean island of Barbados.
Tituba and John baked a “witch cake” with rye and Betty’s urine and fed it to the dog.
Tituba was put in prison, but because she had confessed, she did not stand trial.
  More results at FactBites »



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