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Christopher Columbus And His Effect On The Native Americans

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Columbus, the Pinzon brothers and their crew were not the first to reach the Americas but they were the first to jot down their achievements. Columbus after persuading the Spanish government into sponsoring him and his goals to find a western route to the east Indies started his mission. When he landed, he enslaved many west Indies natives, he took thousands of peaceful Taino people from their island of Hispaniola to Spain to be sold. A large number died en route. Those left behind were forced to search for gold in mines and work on plantations, if they failed to find much, they were dealt with terrible consequences. He enacted policies of forced labour in which natives were put to work for the sake of profits and exposed them to excessive violence and brutal acts.

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In 1492, when columbus landed on an unknown island in the Carribeans after an onerous three month journey, right away on his first day he ordered six of the natives to be seized, writing in his journal that he believed they would make great servants and that with fifth men the natives could all be succumbed and made to do all that one wished. In due time, the natives came to resist such treatment and plotted revolts against such heinous treatment, in response to the native’s revolt, Columbus ordered a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed, in an attempt to discourage further rebellion, he ordered their dismembered bodies to be paraded through the streets. Tainos who resisted the Spanish, were set upon by dogs, disemboweled by swords, burned at stakes, trampled by horses–atrocities ”to which no chronicle could ever do justice”, wrote Friar Bartolome de las Casas, a crusader for indian rights, in 1542. Columbus also forced the native to convert to christianity which he was doing in order to advance his personal gains, some people say he did them a favor by bringing God into their lives but who is to say, they wanted to worship that God? In Fact it paints the natives as savages that needed to be saved through some sort of “truth”. They were nearly wiped out by the arrival of Europeans.

Diseases from the cattle, blankets and other items brought in by the Europeans, diseases such smallpox swept through the tribes and killed almost everyone who contacted the highly contagious diseases, which the natives had no immunity to. Within two generations the Caribbean population huge decline in population. On the island of Hispaniola alone, of its estimated 300,000 indigenous population, only 11,000 Taínos remained alive by 1517. Within ten more years, six hundred or so villages were empty. The same was done by Hernando De Soto who conquered Peru and moved to North America afterwards, he burned villages and attack Natives, his livelihood in the americas led to consequences toward the Natives that were similar to that of Columbus. There was also Hernan Cortes who discovered Mexico and many more European explorers who brought trails of distraction whichever way they leaped. Eventually, his methods and actions caught up with Columbus. A number of settlers spoke out against him at the Spanish court, accusing Columbus of mismanagement. In 1500, the king and queen sent in a royal administrator, who detained Columbus and his brothers and had them shipped home.

15 April 2020

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