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Discovery And Colonization Of The Americas

749 words - 3 pages

When we discuss the discovery and colonization of the Americas, Columbus often comes to mind first. These days we analyze Christopher Columbus in various ways. Was he a pioneer that changed the world for the better? Or was he a man who began the end of a native way of life? Can we actually accuse Christopher Columbus of mass murder? These questions will most likely never be answered. One fact is certain: from 1492 and throughout the 16th century, Latin America’s native population was invaded, conquered, enslaved, and killed. Wasserman and Martin described it perfectly when they wrote, “Almost overnight, the natives of the Caribbean went from trading partners to slaves.” [Wasserman, pg. 80] ...view middle of the document...

After he became a priest, he devoted his life to speaking out against the Spaniards arguing for the liberation of the natives. He claimed, “All Spanish wealth in the Indies was ill-gotten.” [Wasserman, pg. 77] Las Casas speaks very highly of the native peoples in his Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. “Now this infinite multitude of Men are by Creation of God innocently simple, altogether void of and averse to all manner of Craft, Subtlety and Malice, and behave themselves very patiently, submissively and quietly towards the Spaniards, to whom they are subservient and subject…” [Las Casas, pg. 6] There is no doubt that the native people of the discovered lands were peaceful people. The accounts of Columbus and Las Casas himself solidify this claim.
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies describes the Spanish invaders as brutal tyrants. The book is filled with examples of torture and murder. Throughout his account, Las Casas makes an obvious assertion that the tyrannous occupiers were exploiting the Indian natives because of their insatiable thirst for riches, specifically gold. “When the Indians were asked if they had gold or pearls or spices, they answered by signs that there were great...

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