Spain, being recently unified, wanted spices and gold. The gold to them could purchase anything. So they offered Christopher Columbus ten percent of the profit, if he would bring back gold and spices. Christopher Columbus was sent to Asia with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
Columbus sailed for thirty-three days not sighting land. It wasn’t until early October of 1492 that he and his crew finally landed. He supposedly was the first to sight land and received a ten thousand maravedis as his reward. It was not him, but a member of his crew who first sighted land, Rodrigo. But Columbus got the credit.
As Columbus and his crew approached the island, they were greeted by the native inhabitants of the island. The natives were the Arawak Indians, and the island they were on was the Bahama Islands. The Arawaks gave them food, water, and incredible gifts. Columbus took some of the natives as prisoners so they could show him where the gold was. They took him to Hispaniola. Hispaniola, as Columbus reported, was beautiful, fertile, filled with gold and other metals.
Columbus had promised Spain and investors gold, but there wasn’t much gold to be found. He ordered that Indians ages fourteen and over to collect gold. After the Indians collected the amount of gold required, they were given copper token necklaces to prove that they had collected the gold. Later, it was obvious that no more gold was left to collect, so the Indians were taken to work on estates. They worked hard and many died. None of the original Arawaks were left on the Bahama Islands.
Bartolome de las Casas transcribed Columbus’s log. He wrote a multivolume History of the Indies. He wrote that the Indians had no temple, if not a religion. Las Casas writes of how the Spaniards were becoming more conceited as the days passed. The Spaniards killed for fun. They considered themselves to on top of the world.
After collecting gold for about 6-8 months, the gold was melted. This was such hard labor, that many died. According to Casas, over three million died. The women were so malnourished that they could not produce milk for their babies. The babies were often killed out of the mother’s desperation. The men worked so hard in the mines, stressed killed them.
Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that we shouldn’t accept the atrocities so easily, but to not make a big deal about it either, because it was in the past. It didn’t happen to us in the present. No point in grieving for the victims or judging the villains, because it won’t make a difference. It’s much easier to bury the truth than hide it.
Columbus did it to the Arawaks, and others did the same. Such as Cortes to the Aztecs, and Pizarro to the Incas. They all took advantage of the natives and abused everything they received.
Were these massacres really necessary for the progression of the human race? Of course this question can easily be debated, but remember the key word, necessary.
All the gold and silver Spain received, it didn’t make it richer, but a little more powerful in the combat area. What was the point of being a little stronger if you lost the wars to come? Everything became worse than it was before.
Even though Columbus referred to the natives as Indians, we do so because there is the possibility that they originated from Asia. Indians have become more evolved. Around the time of Christ, there was a culture of Indians, also known as Moundbuilders. They built many gigantic sculptures.
Many Indian cultures had their own laws, poetry, and tales to tell on to future generations.
The main point being this: is it right for someone to take another’s life just to progress in life and tell the story as if they were the heroes?