The American History was built under several wars, people suffering, and religious conflicts. Starting with Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Asian continent in 1492, his plans were to find a huge amount of wealth to make Spain rich, and also bring the Christianity to the new land. Frustrated in fail while trying to find Asian, instead he found the American continent. Such fact Columbus began to act aggressive towards Native Americans, enslaving and forcing them to look for gold.
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After Columbus’ death in 1506, Spain would send more soldiers known as conquistadores to the American continent in order to find more wealth. Later on, France and England would also led expeditions to the American continent in order to establish a foothold. Because Europeans started to migrate to America, they found many cultural differences and opposite beliefs that made Europeans and Native Americans fight for a long time until they found an agreement.
The Spaniards’ mission in the America was to find slaves that would work for the conquistadores looking for gold and other riches and bring it to Spain; however, evangelization of the Native Americans was used as justification for the Spanish colonization. In 1519, Hernan Cortes arrived in the American continent and landed in the Aztec Empire located in what is now Mexico. There, he and his conquistadores found more riches than they could ever imagine through the Indian slave labor. Such discovery inspired other conquistadores to go and explore different regions of the American continent.
The next place where Spaniards would look for riches was in North America. North America, different from Central or South America, never had riches like gold or other metals, but this fact did not prevent the Spaniards from making the Native North Americans work as slaves in order to find gold. The Spanish treatment given to those native people can be characterized as the worst form of torture. The act of torture, for the Spaniards, was the same thing as playing a sport, the sport of hunting.
“And before they had time to gather together I burnt
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some five or six little villages, each of about hundred inhabitants … seeing this I ordered the whole fifty to be arrested and their hands cut off” (Cortes and the Requerimiento 5). Bartolome de Las Casas, a Dominican priest, recognized that his people were being terrible with the Indians, and with the order of the King of Spain, he became a defender of the Indians. Such action mobilized Protestants to create the tale “Black Legend. ” This tale was actually true, however, it would be used later as an excuse for other Europeans justify their colonization.
Different than Spain, France and England came to America with intentions that would go beyond finding riches and religion, they were interested in trading and negotiable settlements. “…We are encouraged by the situation and condition of this place, which, if it is cultivated, promises to furnish a great deal for the needs of human life” (Indian Population of New France 16). Samuel de Champlain was the French man who led an expedition to Quebec where he established the New France. His relationship with the Native Indians would support the new colony’s development. Indians would trade beaver pelts in order to receive European objects.
“Cacagous [a local chief] … show his kindly feelings toward the French … take him a present of hundred beaver skins …” (Indian Populations of new France 15). The marriage of the English man, John Rolfe, to the “King’s most dear well-beloved daughter” (Pocahontas and John Smith 32) Pocahontas in 1614, was a remarkable point in the American history. It not only shows how the relationship between the European and the American Indians had changed since Columbus’ first arrival to the American continent, but also shows an agreement of peace between the two populations.
This peace, however, lasted until the announcement of Pocahontas death in 1617. Resentments were being accumulated against the English people who were coming to America with their families, bringing diseases, and occupying a huge amount of land. The Indians did not wait too long to attack the English, as a result, 347 English people died. Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the America continent was the beginning of many controversies between the Europeans and Native Americans. Many people say that Columbus was a demon that came to earth to start a revolution.
If he was or not, his discovery was important for the development of the “New World” and remarkable for the world’s history. Without his discovery of the America, perhaps someone else would discover America decades later, and the year of 2014 would face a different reality. His discovery could be less aggressive, and painful, as it happened when the French discovered Quebec, but the American story would be totally different than it is now, even though many American Indians had to suffer tortures, today they have their own story, and they are proud to say they are the North Americans.See More on Conflict, History