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The Spanish Conquest Of Latin America History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

A great deal of historical documents touch on the theme of the Spanish Conquest of Latin America and give us numerous facts in order to prove this or that historical event. According to many up-to-date sources of information it turns out that some facts concerning the Spanish Conquest are either false or too simplistic. So what is true and what is false? Can we speak about the genocide of Indians or may be it was provoked by the scared witnesses of the historical events of those days? And what can we say about the fabulous Christopher Columbus? Was he a hero or a slave-trader and murderer?

Of course any conquest is followed by the military actions and bring great oppression to the conquest population. There is no doubt that the colonialists used particularly cruel means to achieve their goals and it cannot but incur disfavor. Today we have no any opportunity to change the course of history but we can restore justice in regard to some historical facts. (Herring)

“Genocide of Indians” is a well-known term used by many historians and politicians regarding the actions of European colonialists against the Native Americans starting from 1492, the time when Christopher Columbus discovered America, and up to the 20th century. According to this fact the Spanish killed tens of millions of Indians what coursed the largest decrease of population in the history of mankind. (Herring)

In order to prove the rightness of this accusation, these historians rest upon certain facts of cruel attitude of the Spanish to the Indians, the bloody suppression of the Indians’ rebellions, hard labor at mines, and the most important thing is the acute decrease in population of America noted by the Spanish annalists themselves. (Hugh)

The followers of this version exaggerate the fundamental importance of these facts concerning the decrease in the Indians’ population wherefore there were no such a large number of mines where millions of Indians were killed as well as the they lived more or less peacefully without any severe slaughterers.

This fact is historically proved by many historians and anthropologists who devoted a great deal of their works to it.

Speaking about the main reason of decreasing the Indian population it is known that terrible diseases which were brought on the continent by the Spanish killed a great number of Indians. They could not protect themselves against such infective diseases as smallpox, flux, plague, flue, gonorrhea, typhus, yellow fever, mumps and many others. (Kaman 100)

All the Indians were afraid of these terrible diseases. There are a lot of descriptions of the consequences of these diseases among which are the works of Turibio de Benavente Motolinia, a member of missionary. He spent 45 years of his life among the Indians, converted many of them to Christianity. He wrote that one day a Spanish who suffered from smallpox came to their village and he gave it to the Indians. At that year a lot of Indians died of this disease.

When we speak about Christopher Columbus we are sure that he is a brave adventurer and a discoverer of a new continent, whose name is famous all over the world, whose achievements and biography are studied at schools. But some shocking facts tell us just the opposite. It is found that Christopher Columbus was a cruel man, a greedy and a hard-handed slave trader. His interests were connected with the gold mining.

In order to prove these facts we have the works of Bartolome de las Casas who was the protector of Indians and who was the Spanish Bishop and historian. For example his work Short Account of the Destruction of the Indians gives terrible descriptions of the Spanish attitude to the Indians.

Nowadays many historians and anthropologists are interested in finding true facts connected with the Spanish conquest and its terrible consequences. Let’s take the book The Killing History written by Roger Kimball where the author touches upon the subject of Columbus discovery of the New World, more exactly he analyzes the ideas of different literary theorists and historians. For example he takes the words of Tzvetan Todorov, the eminent semiotician, who proves the fact that the 16th century performed “the greatest genocide in the human history” and consider the Columbus to be the cruel man. (Kimball)

Another critic Windschuttle is against this opinion and gives the facts that the Indian tribes were dangerous for the European conquerors because almost all the native tribes of Indians practiced human sacrifice. They not only killed hundreds of Europeans who came on their land but also the practiced cannibalism. The Indian tribes of Caytes ate the memebers of the crew of each ship which was wrecked during the storm. (Kimball)

So we can make a conclusion that not only the Spanish conquerors were cruel to the natives, the Indian tribes were ruthless too. That is why it is very difficult to say who tells the truth about the Spanish conquest and its consequences. This historical fact should be carefully studied and analyzed by the modern experts in the sphere of history study.

But it is clear that the Indians cannot blame the Europeans in inhumanity and genocide of native population in Latin America.

The Indians themselves had the same relation to the Europeans who came on their land to build new cities, to develop agriculture, industry, trade. As the result of the discovery of the New Continent the world has got a developed country which became the home for the people of many nationalities and where the democracy is one the first place.

The people who live here feel free and do not afraid of the racial discrimination.

Nowadays the Indians and a great deal of people of other nationalities can get good education and take care of their health. Moreover they can live in comfortable houses and eat good food.

Of course the Indians as well as the representatives of other nationalities have some problems which could be solved by the government.

The Indians are allowed to keep their native culture and traditions, their language and music, their festivals, songs.

Rudy Youngblood is a famous dancer, musician and actor who is one of the representative of the native Americans.

He belongs to the Indian tribes and is a successful man who has got a good education. He was given the leading role in the well-known film Apokalypto where he was Jaguar Paw.

Besides many people like to watch the adventure films about Indians where they are represented as brave and strong people.

The Indians’ Festivals are held regularly and a lot of people visit this colorful show with dances, songs and bright costumes of Indians.

That is why we should not pay too much attention to those historical facts which are not finally proved. We should not take offence. Our common goal is to live in peace.


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