Earth as the People of Thesis
- Length: 11 pages
- Sources: 6
- Subject: Literature - Latin-American
- Type: Thesis
- Paper: #34876836
Excerpt from Thesis :
There are sources claiming that the population of natives had fallen from several million to several tens of thousands. The sources cannot be verified in the present, since there are no notable documents to confirm either assumption. What is certain is that the Taino population from Hispaniola had been severely diminished as a result on their interaction with the Europeans.
While Columbus continued to visit the Caribbean in hope that he would find the famous kingdoms that he have heard about, his brother Bartolome became governor of the island. Still, similar to his brother, Bartolome did not seem to control the situation, as no major advancements have been performed during his governing. One of the biggest mistakes that the Europeans had done during their first years on Hispaniola had been that they did not want their community to have anything to do to the native one. The locals had not been accustomed to harvesting large cultures that would last over the year, and, because of lack of supplies, both the natives and the Europeans have come across a period of famine. Because of the fact that his men were virtually starving, Bartolome had started to perceive food as important as gold. Instead of giving gold as tribute to the Spaniards, some of the Taino leaders had been requested to give food and other resources.
Being aware that it would not take long before the port of Isabela would turn into ruins because of the poor terrain, Bartolome founded the port of Santo Domingo in 1496.
The positioning for the port had been set on the southern coast of Hispaniola. The location had been much better than Isabela's location, and, the port of Santo Domingo soon brought happiness among the Spaniards.
The brothers Christopher and Bartolome Columbus had managed to reign over the island for a few years. However, they had not succeeded in imposing their power over it, and, both the colony at Navidad and the one at Isabela proved to be worthless. It had also been reported that one of the main reasons for which the brothers were considered unfit for ruling the colony had been that they were Italian. Jealous on the success that the brothers have had, and unwilling to allow themselves as Spaniards to be governed by Italians, the colonists came up with numerous false accusations which made the Queen of Spain bring the brothers back in chains. However, it became obvious for Queen Isabela that the allegations were false and that the Columbus brothers did not deserve to be punished.
All in all, the colonies did not perform well under the leadership of the Columbus brothers for a series of reasons ranging from inexperienced management to inadequate terrains for settlements to be placed on them.
Disappointed after having seen that their dreams were gradually destroyed, the colonists considered that the only ones to blame for their misfortunes had been the Columbus brothers. The fact that the colonists were no longer willing to put up with the Columbus leaderships had materialized into a group demanding the replacement of the Columbus brothers with qualified leaders that would be better in dealing with the situation.
Wanting to resolve the state of crisis existing in Hispaniola, the queen of Spain decided to put Francisco de Bobadilla in charge of the situation as governor. Great changes in better were believed to take place with the new governor in charge, and, hope seemed to have returned among the colonists. However, in spite of the better ruling abilities that the new governor had, "he was still unable to satisfy the crown with the collection of the "royal fifth.." (Wilson, pp. 133) Queen Isabela removed Bobadilla from his position as she found that he had been partly responsible for spreading the false rumors concerning the brothers Columbus.
The first authoritarian governor to rule the island of Hispaniola had been Nicolas de Ovando, who had been sent by the queen of Spain to remove Francisco de Bobadilla from power and to replace him. Unlike his predecessors, Ovando had actually been an exceptional soldier and had had a lot of experience with the military. This had been confirmed from the very first days of his ruling when significant modifications took place in the colony. The governor brutally oppressed anyone that seemed like a potential enemy of the Crown.
Presumably wanting to strengthen the relationship between the most influent of the Taino leaders and him, Ovando had organized a feast in which the Europeans and the Taino Indians were supposed to celebrate the new governor. However, the governor had had other plans in his mind than to become friend with the locals. Determined to impose his power over the Taino Indians, he gathered all of the leaders from Hispaniola in a hut. The natives were later surrounded by Spanish forces and the hut had been set on fire. With the apparent intention of giving the Taino queen an honorable death, Ovando hanged her.
It is difficult to imagine how the so-called civilized people had ruthlessly murdered the ones that were considered to be savages.
The Taino population on Hispaniola had no chance of fighting the Spanish, since they had little experience in performing warfare and they had not been well organized. The Europeans had consumed most of the food available on the island leaving the locals to starve. Also, the diseases brought from Europe proved to be fatal for a great number of natives, in view of the fact that they had no immunity to the maladies. Strong-minded on making profits from the island, the Spaniards began to exploit the labor force of the Taino Indians. This only hurried the decimating of the island's population of natives.
Observing that the gold resources on the island were beginning to decrease, the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland. Being a former colonist on the island, Hernan Cortez had succeeded in conquering Mexico and the great riches that it held. The only ones to remain on the island had been a few thousand people that were half Spanish and half Taino. Having lost most of their culture, the locals had started to raise livestock which they gave to the Spanish ships passing by.
The profits that the Spanish made from the Hispaniola disappeared along with the Taino civilization. Being unwilling to work and with the Taino population being diminished, the colonists started to bring African slaves in great numbers to the point that the island contained more black people than it contained whites or Taino Indians.
The Spanish government had repeatedly attempted to stop the colonists from trading with pirates and ruthlessly fought anyone that disobeyed their orders. The few isolate groups that have dared to stand against the Crown had been rapidly silenced and the whole northern coast of Hispaniola had been evacuated, with its inhabitants being taken south to Santo Domingo.
The French took advantage of the situation and settled colonists on the northwestern side of Hispaniola. "The western third of Hispaniola became a French possession called Saint Domingue in 1697, and over the next century developed into what became, by far, one of the richest colonies in the world." (Guitar) The French imported large numbers of African slaves with the intention of mass planting and harvesting sugar cane.
The fact that most of the people on the island had been slaves meant that the French had had a hard time controlling their subjects and imposing their authority. The slaves had also been aware of this, and, with Pierre Dominique Toussaint leading them, they organized a rebellion in 1791 against the French. With the intention of keeping the island, the French abolished slavery on its territory. Being aware of the conditions in Santo Domingo and seeing the success that Saint Dominique had, the Spanish government settled on abandoning the colony and leaving the island to the French in 1795. Shortly after, the French government placed Toussaint in charge of the island as its governor. The few Spanish remaining in Santo Domingo were unwilling to release their slaves because of the large profits that they made. In response to their reluctance, Toussaint gathered his army and freed all of the slaves in Santo Domingo, chasing the Spanish away.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the king of France during the time, had come to the conclusion that it had been vital for the French to conquer Hispaniola once again. He had been motivated by the complaints coming from the former French land owners and by the fact that he did not appreciate having a black man ruling over his precious colony. The expedition intended to bring Hispaniola back to the French had failed under the leadership of General Leclerc. Encouraged by their success, the rebels established the Republic of Haiti in western Hispaniola, under the leadership of Jean Jacques Dessalines in 1804. The Spanish attempted to regain control of the island in 1809 with the help of the French, but they had been suppressed by the Haitians that integrated Santo…