Spanish Atrocities in the New Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

The Spanish Royal Crown officially declared that the only salvation possible for the native populations was to accept their opportunity to adopt Christianity. In fact under a concept known as Requerimiento, the Spaniards were required to give the native people a "fair" opportunity to do just that before they disposed of them as savages instead of respecting them as human beings created in God's image. As Eurocentric a concept as Requerimiento was, even that edict was routinely ignored by Columbus's men (Schwartz, 2000; Stannard, 1993). They enslaved men, rapes women, and murdered children virtually at will. They imposed "quotas" of minimum amounts of gold ore to be collected daily and imposed penalties of mutilation and death, often depending on whether or not their victims survived after having limbs hacked off as a message to their companions and their communities that the Spaniards were deadly serious about expecting them to find their gold (Stannard, 1993; Zinn, 2008).

Furthermore, even their enslavement for this purpose was officially sanctioned by the Spanish authorities under the doctrine of Encomienda, according to which the native peoples of foreign lands had a duty to accept the teachings of Christ when they were presented to them by their conquerors (Stannard, 1993; Zinn, 2008). If they resisted this obligation, their enslavement under the Encomienda system was considered part of the persuasion necessary to break them of their "uncivilized" habits and to teach them discipline (Stannard, 1993; Zinn, 2008). Within two decades of Columbus's first arrival on the shores of the Americas, only approximately 50,000 Arawak Indians remained on Haiti, from an original population of more than 250,000 first encountered by the Europeans. Those numbers pale in comparison to at least 8 million natives of Hispaniola and virtually all of the original 25 million people killed in Central Mexico in less than a century of European "exploration" (Stannard, 1993).

Conclusion

The only greater irony in connection with the contemporary regard for men like Columbus as "heroes" is the fact that the moral justification used by the Spaniards to suspend ordinary moral rules and "Christian" values was precisely, their religion. They differentiated the native populations of foreign lands by virtue of their lack of Christianity and treated them like animals, working to them to death and routinely butchering them as well. The historical record of those encounters now serves as a reminder of the ways that religion has been used throughout human history to justify violence and brutality as well as a means of promoting morality in human life. There was absolutely nothing "moral" about the way that the European Christians treated those they regarded as "inferior."

References

Schwartz, S.B. (2000). Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of Conquest

of Mexico. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Stannard, D. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York:

Takaki, R. (2008). A Different Mirror: A History…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Schwartz, S.B. (2000). Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of Conquest

of Mexico. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Stannard, D. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York:

Takaki, R. (2008). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little

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