The introduction of Old World diseases was a substantial catalyst in the building of American colonial societies. Diseases such as smallpox devastated the native people’s populations. According to one estimate, within the span of the 16th century, the native population of central Mexico was reduced to about 700,000 from at least 13 million. (The Earth and Its Peoples, 475) Other regions were similarly affected by the disease and others such as measles, typhus, influenza, and malaria. These diseases, in effect, cleared the way for European settlers, although, in a somewhat gruesome fashion.
The Spaniards used the sacrifice in a way to prove how they were savage people and how they had to defend their selves to any cost. They always referred to any native violence as a horrendous acts but when they talked about their cruelties they were “deserving the punishment of death in accordance with military law”4 but how does human sacrifice a cultural ritual be so much worse than their actions, an example is this scene from Diaz account, “with the grease from a fat Indian woman whom we had killed and cut open.”5 Indians had a reason for their action and did not sacrifice their people for malicious motivation like Spaniards did. In Diaz account the Spaniard actions were not described as significant and vivid as Indians were, making it always seem as spaniard's actions were always “defensive or provoked, skillful, and clever.”5This creates a paradox between the spaniards cruelty and the indigenous brutality, making spaniards try to justify their action due to their morals and making it seem like it was the Indigenous fault why they were being so cruel and heartless in their
Disease was a major setback for the Native Americans and Europeans. The Europeans brought many diseases to North America such as smallpox. The Native Americans did not have a strong enough immune system for these diseases and many of them died as a result. In A Journey Through Texas many Native Americans became sick while travelling with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. According to Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca the Native Americans did not know how to deal with the disease. The epidemic in the camp was so bad that Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca writes, “All over the country, where it was known, they became so afraid that it seemed as if the mere sight of us would kill them.” It seems as if the Native Americans did not know how to cope with the disease. They thought the Europeans were causing it, and so all the Native Americans thought to do was to ask them to not be angry anymore and to stop the disease. The early Native Americans did not know how to cope with the European’s diseases, and the deaths from these diseases would be a cause of tension between Native Americans and Europeans.
The advantages from the geography that the Europeans had allowed them to have agriculture and domesticated animals causing complex societies to be developed which lead to the conquering of the Native Americans (Guns, Germs, and Steel Video). The germs and diseases that were exposed to the America’s made the settlement of the land a lot easier. Since the Europeans settlers did not understand the causes of Malaria, they settled by river and water sources where they were exposed to Malaria even more. Also, they all lived close by each other so the epidemics were occurring often and were very deadly to the other settlers (Guns, Germs, and Steel Video).
When Spanish came over they enslaved thousands of native people forcing them to mine for gold and work on large plantations, in some cases they worked the natives so hard they ended up dieing. On the Europeans trip over they had brought diseases over like Yellow Fever, Smallpox, Typhus, and Malaria. The Europeans being immune to these diseases were not affected but the natives were extemely. Hundreds of thousands of natives died from these diseases killing off many more than wars. Now rarely today is there people with one-hundred percent native background because of all the Spanish had killed. Lastly the Europeans had brought over there religion. Though this could be argued as a good thing in some cases, it was bad as well. Natives were either forced or converted to the Christian religion, converting so they were not enslaved.
To get started, Europeans are responsible for one of the greatest demographic disasters known in America. 95% of the population in America died in the first 130 years of the Spanish conquest, either in greater quantity by disease nor aided by labor exploitation. The initial contact that Europeans had in the Americas brought issues such as excessive taxes the natives had to pay, slavery, force emigration, separation of families by forced labor, imposition of religion and language, and also adding the important ecological devastation that occurred in our environment. In South America were slaughtered approximately 14 million Indians and 15 million from North America.
To the defense of the Spaniards, there was little knowledge that the diseases of the Columbian exchange had caused the widespread, mass deaths of the natives. Las Casas was pivotal in bringing to light the brutal treatment of the natives. The crown took this information seriously. If it hadn’t been for Las Casas stance on anti-brutality against the natives, change would not have come for a long
... the disease that accompanied an average race of people that made the difference in the conquest of the Americas
The Spanish conquest of South America can only truly be contributed to blind luck, disease, and help from the indigenous people’s hatred of their masters. Without the help of these, as well as their military weapons and armor, the Spanish might not have been able to conquer both the Aztecs and the Inca. South America would forever be changed with its discovery by the Europeans and the cultures and societies of the Aztecs and the Incas would suffer for it. Cultures that had survived and thrived for hundreds of years and had developed complex social constructs would fall in only a few short years. The Spanish would remove the two hindrances that would stand in their way to the riches of South America resulting in millions of deaths. The mighty Empires of the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru were defeated in the name of greed and the prize was the New World.
In the first document De La Casas gives evidence to his title “Devastation of the Indies”; by giving the example of the island Hispaniola and its population, before and after its discovery. Because of the cruel actions of the Spaniards towards the natives the population decreases and the survivors of the wars are forced to become slaves under control of the Spanish according to rank. This shows how the Spanish rationalize their cruelty towards the natives, by being different according to culture and customs the natives are seen as subhuman and savage, which leads the Spanish to believe they are justified in an annihilation of a people.