Colonialism In Latin America Essay, Research Paper
In 1492 Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of the Caribbean and claimed the new land in the name of Spain and God. From then on the world was changed forever in the sense that there was a whole New World to conquer. Conquistadors like Cortez and Pizarro then followed and claimed entire new lands and people in the name of gold and wealth. These men started a revolution that changed an entire continent; it was transformed from a free race of people at one with the land to one of slavery and oppression in which man was bound to the land. This was the beginning of colonialism in the New World. The newly founded colonialism changed everything about the land, its inhabitants, culture, religion and even created new races of people, of which we still do not know everything about.
With the curiosity of European countries piqued and rumors of cities made of gold, the Old World decided that there were no boundaries established within the New World and the land was for the taking. Spain had no regard for the natives found nor the great civilizations that were built there. Everything within view was to be claimed in the name of the Old World. Unfortunately for the indigenous people they did not have the technological advancements that the Old World had, i.e. horses, iron, guns, and gunpowder, and thus they succumbed to Europe. This gave Europe the upper hand in controlling the land and the boundaries they established in the Americas.
As for the natives of the Americas, whether they were the Aztecs or Incas, from the beginning they made the mistake of trusting the Europeans and welcoming them into the bosom of their civilizations. When Cortez first arrived on Mexico’s shores, and got off of his ship in shining armor on horses, along with him being a white man, lead the native Aztecs to believe he was the messiah returning to their tribe and welcomed him as a god. The Aztecs then brought Cortez straight to the king, Montezuma, and Cortez killed him. This type of trust was the same through all of the indigenous tribes of the Americas at the time and it was one of the first causes for the indigenous’ people enslavement and the downfall of their civilizations.
The ruling kingdoms of Europe were not the only ones with agendas in the New World, but also the Roman Catholic Church viewed the New World with great interest. So when Columbus landed in Hispanola, he did not just claim the land with a sword but also with a cross. The Europeans did not only manage to enslave the people physically but also mentally. The indoctrination of the natives was of up most priority to the Church because it gave another form of control to the ruling parties. They gave the natives a new God to praise and caused a great change in the cultures of the indigenous tribes. They instilled a fear of God into the people that to this day has not passed. Also the Church did not take ‘No’ for answer in regards to converting to Christianity. If you did not convert you were killed and sometimes even if you did convert, you were also killed. This has been one of the greatest genocide to occur in world history that has not yet been fully brought to light.
Along with the genocide, the diseases brought over by the Europeans killed a large majority of the indigenous people. Very similar to the same effect that occurred with the colonization of North America by the British. The Indian people did not have the same immunities, biologically speaking, as the conquistadors and their crew, and succumbed to death even before they had a chance to become enslaved or converted.
With the demise of the native people of America there also came a large interbreeding between the Europeans and the Indians in the area. After time there came a new race born out of the land, a mixture of Indian and European, which are often titled mestizo and mulatto, for the mixture of European and the black race, which can be predominately found in the Dominican Republic and Brazil.
In light of all this plight that the Europeans brought with them to the New World it did not stop them one bit in raping the land of all of its resources, and most importantly its people. The conquistadors along with stealing gold, also took away all the history of great civilizations to which we credit great mathematical ideas and theories, like the number 0 from the Aztecs, to suspected space travel from the Incas in Macchu Picchu. This is probably the greatest loss concurred with the colonization of the New World.
In conclusion it is obvious how the colonization of the New World changed everything from the land to its inhabitants to the culture and religion and also in creating a new race of people. Whether this colonization was a proper direction for history to go is not my place to say, but all one can do is look at the facts presented and objectively decide how one wants to view Christopher Columbus, as a great explorer or great exploiter.