The Devastation of Indies - Essay Example

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Vanderbilt University
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Critical thinking
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This was a short account that was written by Bartolome de Las Casas with the intention of notifying the Spanish king of the suffering and murder that the people of the New World were going through in the hands of the Spaniards. The letter also informed the king of the gold stealing that was taking place. The objective of sending the Spaniards was to convert the people from their religion to Christianity and change the way the country was being governed. Out of the gold that was taken from the natives only a small percentage that was sent to Spain and although most of the people were brutal to the natives there were a few who tried to keep peace and justice in the land. The natives were a domicile, and the Spaniards took advantages of the warm welcome they received from the people, and they would easily take the jewels, gold, and slaves. The Spaniards were very hostel, and they killed the natives and sold the rest as slaves in Hispaniola and Peru. The slaves were used to carry out various tasks that the Spaniards could not let their people to do, and they would die within months or days due to workload. Some slaves would even die on their way to be sold, and they would be thrown into the sea. Despite several letters being sent to the king of Spain, there were no significant steps that were taken to stop the Spaniards from their actions (Bartolome, 1). The Spaniards forgot their initial aim of converting and protecting the natives and only took their money and gold. The leaders from other countries like Peru and Hispaniola who were loyal to Spain were also killed so that they would not report the soldiers to the authorities in Spain.

The History of People of the United States

The chapter opens with Zinn trying to shift the focus of history from Europeans and their power to the ordinary people. The chapter begins with Christopher Columbus meeting the Arawak people who welcome him well on their island. Christopher and his crew are happy, and they start describing the Arawak as good people they also point out on their similarity to the indigenous population in Bahama. The Arawak are peaceful, accommodating, had no proper method of self-defense and generous people and they never understood that Christopher and his crew would take advantage of their friendly and welcoming culture. The writer points out that during the first meeting Christopher sensed victory and superiority over the natives. Within a short time Christopher forced the Arawaks to work in gold mines, they were enslaved and whatever they got was taken by him. Columbus and his crew also started killing and raping the natives at will. This led to millions of residents losing their lives through mining, slavery, and war (Zinn and Arnove, 5). The experience that the Arawak went through parallels the one between Cortes and the Aztecs. The Arawak expected that the Columbus would bring progress to their country, but they were surprised to note that only the opposite of progress was made in their land. There was a lot of destruction to their culture, and the two parties would not work in harmony as the European stole from the natives, things like their land and other natural resources that they took to their country. The writer estimates that over three million people died in Bahama Island and by the time Europeans left the country the population was depleted.

Works Cited

Casas, Bartolome. The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account. Hopkins Univ. P, 1996.

Zinn, Howard, and Anthony Arnove. A People's History of the United States. 2017.

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