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The American Holocaust is considered to be one of the biggest genocides the world has ever experienced. Many lives are believed to have been lost for no apparent good reason. Brutal killings by white American and the Spaniards who had come from Europe to explore the American land and also out breaks of new diseases which where believed to have been brought by the violent visitors; the colonizers, are all responsible for the massive human death. David Stannard explains this holocaust by analyzing era before Columbus and era after the arrival of Columbus which was believed to be a nightmare for the American natives. In Stannard overview of his book, he says that the indigenous people of America endured a long period of violence and during that period their population fell by around one hundred million people. This was courtesy of European and the white Americans’ atrocities and the imported plaques.
According to Stannard (1992) life before coming of Columbus is described as good, where the natives enjoyed and utilized their land. It is even a period that is believed to have been a period of advancements for the natives (Stannard 49). The American natives are believed to be people who had settled in the American lands way before Columbus had come and brought Europeans to occupy the American land. During this era the American natives where agriculturalist who depended on their land for survival, they had even devised ways of catching sea animals like turtles, fish and many others which where a staple food for the islanders. Due to availability of food, the populations were high and people had become economically and politically stable. The natural and environmental setup in different parts of America had dictated way of life. People had used their natural resources to create wealth and change their lives (Stannard 23). Diseases where there amongst the natives. The available diseases were minor infections and gastrointestinal diseases. The diseases where not serious to them as they had good nutrition and their long term exposure to the diseases had caused mitigation (Stannard 54).
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, a navigator and a colonizer who through his voyages exposed the European to the American continent. According to Stannard (54) after the arrival of the Spanish ships led by Columbus, it was a matter of time for life to drastically change. It was the beginning of worst kind of diseases, violence and programs of human eradication that the world had not seen before. Columbus arrived in America in early 1490s in Hispaniola’s northern coast where he wanted to build his new capital. It is believed that Columbus and his Spaniard crew penetrated America from the Indies up to Mexico, South and Central America, from there they went north and then to the great plains up to the southwest and the pacific coast. Stannard in his book argues that, wherever the white Americans and the Europeans went, the aboriginals suffered from plaques and barbarous acts that swept 95% of their population.
According to “Pestilence and Genocide” Stannard argues that Columbus brought the Europeans who were aimed at destroying the American natives through a genocide campaigns. The Spanish soldiers used to patrol the now conquered land with their ferocious trained killer dogs they looted, killed and raped women they came across. Any act of retaliation by the native was in effective as the Spanish military and diseases over powered them. Columbus had also sent some of his strong crew members to enter the interior and explore the land and find gold mines. When they came back, they too had acquired mysterious disease (Stannard 68). Prior to sailing to the Americas, there had been epidemic out breaks of diseases like small pox, plaque, influence, typhus and many more. In many European cities it is believed that these were the diseases which were brought by the Columbus crew.
According to pestilence and Genocide, Columbus at some point had fallen sick and when he had recovered from his illness, he gathered hundreds of his soldiers and trained dogs, and they moved across the countryside attacking the unarmed and the sick people and slaughtering thousands of them. It was a general rule of the Spaniards to be very cruel and they slaughtered any person they found on their way, they cut their hands and placed bets on slicing their heads, divided the children into two and let their dogs devour the bodies. These acts of murder where terrible and the Spaniards found pleasure in carrying them.
The American holocaust as described by Stannard was a very sad story, it has also caused controversy to many Americans who have read and thought about the acts against humanity committed from the time when Christopher Columbus stepped on the American soil; on whether to celebrate the Columbus day, according to “The history of Columbus day: Columbus controversy” it is indicated that many have debated on whether to honor Columbus as a hero or not. This is because of his iron rule and brutality he enforced on people wherever he settled. His inhuman acts of killing and capturing people to be sold in Spain makes him not to be viewed as a hero to many. In many of the Columbus Day celebrations, there have been protests to scrap the day of the American holidays. This is just a reflection of how Americans feel about the holocaust which tortured and tormented the Native Americans who where naÃ¯ve and no one had right to exploit them.
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