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The term macana
, of Taíno
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...
origin, refers to various wooden weapons used by the various native cultures of Central
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...
and South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...
The earliest meaning attributed to macana
is a sword-like weapon made out of wood, but still sharp enough to be dangerous. The term is also sometimes applied to the similar Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...
weapon, which is studded with pieces of obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...
in order to create a blade, though some authorities distinguish this item by using the Nahuatl name macuahuitl
The maquahuitl is a weapon shaped like a wooden sword. Its sides are embedded with prismatic blades made from obsidian, a volcanic glass stone frequently used for tool making by the Aztec and other pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures...
The Inca army also made use of a 'macana spear'. It consisted of a wooden shaft with a heavy metal or stone object at the end. This object was often in a star shape, to maximise the potential to break bone. They were the most common weapon in the Inca arsenal, and it is possible that gold or silver was used for the star for high-ranking officers.
In modern Spanish
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...
the word has broadened to refer to various types of blunt wooden weapons, especially a police nightstick.