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Spanish vs. English colonization of America - Essay Example

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The first phase of modern European activity in this region began with the oceanic crossings of Christopher Columbus (1492-1500), sponsored by Spain who was trying to find a new route to In-dia and China. …
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Spanish vs. English colonization of America
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Download file to see previous pages Spanish conquest and colonization. There were millions of people living in the Americas when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. In the following centuries the population of the Native Americans decreased steadily (Brading 48). The writings of the Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas vividly depict atrocities committed on the natives by the Spanish conquistadors. “It was a general rule among Spaniards to be cruel; not just cruel, but extraordinarily cruel so that harsh and bitter treatment would prevent Indians from daring to think of themselves as human beings or hav-ing a minute to think at all.” (Las Casas 70). At the same time, the Spanish rulers in America were unhappy at the high mortality rate of the natives, since they wanted to exploit the Indians laborers.
The Spaniards were committed to converting their American subjects to Christianity, often by force. However, as Cook mentions (94), “American groups simply blended Catholicism with their traditional beliefs, which could not have been regarded as a success”.
Nowadays, among many scholars it is believed that epidemic disease was the main cause of the population decline — the figure of 80% is mentioned related to those who may have died due to European diseases, such as chicken-pox and measles (Cook 94, 212). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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