On the Island of Cuba
Pages 18 – 21
Upon the Spaniards conquest of ruling the Americas, many monstrous acts were committed against the native people. According to the tellings of Las Casas, many of the most heinous acts were performed on the island of Cuba, “Here there occurred most singular and abominable things”(pg. 18). The natives of Cuba were warned of the incoming Spaniards. Also to note, they were aware of the way that Europeans treated other nations that they came upon. However, as opposed to arming themselves to prepare for the difficult times approaching them. The Cuban natives turned towards God, presented him with gifts, and asked him to bring them no harm.
Faith is a very big part of who the Native American people are. They showed it in many ways, mainly their merciful and forgiving lifestyle. The brutal way of life that they were exposed to from the Europeans was an entirely new world to them. They have never before seen their weapons and machinery. The Europeans also had no where near the same respect for certain things such as faith and nature as the natives did. The natives offered peace and welcoming to the Europeans, in return an estimated 3,000 were slain by the Spaniards. These horrific acts are something of fantasy. It is almost hard to imagine that real people suffered this tragedy many years ago. One day hunting for survival, assisting others in your tribe on daily tasks, and the next day being gruesomely tortured by foreigners with no respect is something that should be wished upon no one.
On the Province of Santa Marta
Pages 54 – 56
The province of Santa Marta was a land coveted by many, including the Spaniards. Santa Marta was home to numerous attacks by Europeans all in attempt to steal the native’s gold, every event being violent, but unsuccessful in most ways. In this story told by Las Casas the Spaniards who attempt to infiltrate Santa Marta were doing so for different reasons than their predecessors. These Spaniards were there to conquer and inhabit the land. Despite the wicked acts taking place in other parts of South America, this could be viewed as mental growth for the Europeans. They wanted this land to start a new chapter in their life in the name of their homeland and faith. In many of their own eyes, despite the harm they were causing to the native people, the colonization was a necessary expedition for the Europeans.
The Spaniards viewed their conquest as vanquishing a new land to call home and grow, not the genocide of almost an entire race. It was almost as if it was a lopsided war. One side, the Europeans, were brutal, had more advanced weaponry, training, and strategy, as well as the element of surprise in most cases. On the other hand the Native Americans were very immature when it came to fighting in ways not meant for their survival, such as hunting. They may have had experience against neighboring tribes, but this is no comparison to European settlers. This made for a very uneven battle, with the obvious victor coming out on top. It is surprising to even read about the damage done by these Europeans. The disrespect, and way that they viewed the natives as almost lesser people, is very shocking.
On the Kingdom of Venezuela
Pages 64 – 69
Venezuela, a kingdom already under Spanish rule was given to the Germans by a treaty. Subsequently, the Germans who took over were arguable more ruthless and harmful than the Spanish, “These men entered into those lands, then, with more, I do think, incomparable cruelty than any of the other tyrants that we have spoken of, and more unreasonably and furiously than the most bloodthirsty tigers and ravening wolves and lions” (pgs. 64 – 65). These Germans destroyed approximately 400 leagues of the most fertile land, and murdered approximately 5 million innocent natives. These two acts alone are preposterous.
One thing that is interesting is that both the Germans and Spaniards were extremely violent and despicable towards the Native Americans. It must have painted a terrible picture of Europeans to the natives, and rightfully so. The amount of innocent lives lost and destroyed. There was no mercy shown to children, babies, or women. To top all of that the amount of culture, beliefs, stories, and teachings that were lost because they can no longer be passed down is something that can never be recovered. However, not all natives were killed. Those lucky enough to survive were held captive by the Germans. Once again, this displays the inhumane qualities of the European settlers during this time period to be able to do all of this with no regret.