History 101: What Europeans Thought of Native Americans
First European perceptions of Native Americans seen them as uncivilized savages that, together with effort and time, might be educated and assimilated into European civilization. Christopher Columbus reported his view of these Indians at the following fashion:
They need to be good servants and of rapid intelligence, because I find that they really soon say all that’s stated to them and that I feel that they’d easily be made Christians, for it seems to me that they’d no creed. Our Lord prepared,in the right time of my death, I’ll bring back half of these for your Highness, that they might learn how to speak.
This passage indicates that Columbus thought the Indians smart and could be readily converted to European manners, but didn’t believe them equivalent to Europeans. Columbus shows his ethnocentric by dismissing Native American spiritual beliefs and culture, and by imagining that since they didn’t speak a European language they couldn’t”talk”
Indian’s Cultural Practices
Europeans viewed the Indians as with poor cultural practices like their legislation, economics, government, style of living, faith, land ownership, and education/writing. On the other hand, the Europeans considered these ethnic traits of these Native Americans might with minimal difficulty be altered to resemble European civilizations. Back in 1620, the first school for Native Americans had been established to teach Indians in European manners, and in 1640, Harvard started a school for Indians. This demonstrates that the most important objective of the Europeans would be to assimilate the Native Americans into European civilization by means of education.
Indians didn’t come to be seen as inherently different in relation to colour until the mid-eighteenth century along with also the tag”red” wasn’t used until the century. Some causes of this shifting perception had been a rise of Europeans, bloody battles and atrocities, codification of legislation designed to restrain Native individuals, and the perspective of Europeans started to unite as being”white”.
The changing perception of Indians also generated an alteration in how Europeans coped together. Initially, Europeans intermarried together used educators and missionaries to convert them into European civilization and faith. Afterwards, schooling ceased and Europeans transferred to subjugate the Indians via displacement on bookings and from war/genocide.
The reservation lands were split up into individual segments for personal ownership. Additionally, the federal authorities came to think that teaching the Indian kids are the fastest and best way to ruin Indian lifestyles. Boarding schools have been created for Indian kids to educate them American principles and traditions, while eroding their Native American faith.
Initially contact, Europeans thought Indians might be assimilated into European civilization. They then shifted into the elimination and reservation policy.
Colonial America Depended on the Enslavement of Indigenous People
Textbooks and classroom lesson plans are starting to present a more clear-eyed view of America's history—such as slowly recognizing the violence that happened when European settlers encountered the indigenous people of the so-called "New World." But there are still many overlooked stories. One of these startling omissions to the history books is something Margaret Ellen Newell is calling attention to in her book, Brethren by Nature: Colonists living in New England relied on the labor of thousands of Native Americans to build their new lives.
The enslavement of New England's indigenous people was glossed over in the work of historians after World War I, Newell says, as Tanya H. Lee reports for Indian Country Today. Newell, an associate professor of history at Ohio State University, writes that historians "reconstructed the compelling narrative of the Puritan migration…. Many of these works stressed the uniqueness of New England culture and sought there the origins of American exceptionalism."
During the course of researching her first book, From Dependency to Independence: Economic Revolution in Colonial New England, Newell came across a list of Native American slaves kept by colonists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was surprised by the find because she had been taught that New England colonists didn't keep Native Americans as slaves, because they often ran away. But that impression was incorrect.
The colonial economy depended on slavery, many well-to-do households functioned only because of slavery, early colonial legal codes were devised to justify slavery and the Pequot War and King Philip’s War were fought in large measure to perpetuate slavery.
Indeed, in the 1630s, the Connecticut River Valley was home to the powerful Pequots. The settlers at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay wanted their rich, fertile land and in order to get it, they persuaded Mohegan and Narragansett allies to help them fight the Pequots. In 1637, they burned a village on the banks of the Mystic River in southeastern Connecticut, killing 400 to 700 Pequots, according to the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut . That massacre turned the tide of the war and Pequot survivors were pursued, captured and sold as slaves.
King Philip's War in the mid 1670s—which was fought to protest the English colonists encroaching influence and forced labor of Native Americans—ended with "as many as 40 percent of the Indians in southern New England living in English households as indentured servants or slaves," Lee writes.
The English colonists weren't the only ones to use the labor of enslaved indigenous people, of course. " The Spanish were almost totally dependent on Indian labor in most of their colonies," writes Alan Gallay for History Now . Enslaving Native Americans became one of the primary ways to expand the economy for colonists in South Carolina and to a lesser extent in North Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana. "From 1670 to 1720 more Indians were shipped out of Charleston, South Carolina, than Africans were imported as slaves—and Charleston was a major port for bringing in Africans," Gallay writes.
As the African slave trade took off in the late 1700s, the Native American slave trade waned. Many remaining tribes had been pushed West, but something else was taking place, that pushed the data down, as well. Some Native Americans were intermarrying with African American. The children were then referred to as "colored," effectively erasing their Native American heritage. The enslavement of Native Americans thus became obscured, but modern DNA technology helped keep that story from being lost to time .
The history of the enslavement of Native Americans continues to be a complicated and dark part of America's history, but it is one that deserves to continue to be researched and reconciled with.
About Marissa Fessenden
Marissa Fessenden is a freelance science writer and artist who appreciates small things and wide open spaces.
While the former slaves of the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw Nations became tribal citizens due to the Treaties of 1866, throughout the 20th century, all of the Five Tribes eventually rescinded the tribal membership of these freedpeople and their descendants. Although their former slaves had lived among them for generations, sharing land, history, and trauma with them, the Five Tribes claimed that they were interlopers who had no place among them because they had no Native ancestry.
The descendants of these former slaves fought back, filing several lawsuits. On August 31, 2017, the descendants of people enslaved by members of the Cherokee Nation were victorious. The US District Court in Washington ruled that these descendants should have citizenship rights in the Cherokee Nation. Now the descendants of people enslaved by the Creek Nation have filed a similar suit, hoping to find commensurate validation.
So, when we observe and honour the anniversary of the 13th Amendment, let us remember that not all people of African descent had the same experience of freedom. Those African Americans living among western indigenous nations waited until the summer of 1866 to gain their freedom, and even then, they fought to find true liberation from economic, social, and political duress.
Just as our current moment sees white and black Americans arguing over the memory of the Civil War and the removal (or not) of Confederate monuments, so discussions of slavery in Native American nations and the historical relationships between the Five Tribes and people of African descent are also fraught with many difficult issues.
The story of the people of African descent owned by Native Americans is unique, but also simply another tale of coercion and community in the diverse African American experience.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.
Native Americans Were Kept As Slaves, Too
The very word "slavery" brings to mind African bodies stuffed in the hold of a ship or white-aproned maids bustling in an antebellum home. Textbooks, memoirs, and movies continuously reinforce the notion that slaves were black Africans imported into the New World.
We may be aware that in the long sweep of history, peoples other than Africans have been held in bondage&mdasha practice that continues today as millions of Asians, hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans and thousands of Europeans can readily attest. But we still seem unable to escape our historical myopia.
Consider the debate at the conclusion of the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846&ndash1848. The United States had just acquired Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, more than half of Colorado and parts of Wyoming and Kansas. The question facing the country was whether slavery should be allowed in this vast territorial haul.
By slavery, of course, politicians of that era meant African slavery. But the adjective was wholly unnecessary, as everyone in the United States knew who the slaves were.
Therefore it came as a revelation to many easterners making their way across the continent that there were also Indian slaves, entrapped in a distinct brand of bondage that was even older in the New World, perpetrated by colonial Spain and inherited by Mexico. With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the war, this other slavery became a part of Americans' existence.
California may have entered the Union as a "free-soil" state, but American settlers soon discovered that the buying and selling of Indians was a common practice there.
As early as 1846, the first American commander of San Francisco acknowledged that "certain persons have been and still are imprisoning and holding to service Indians against their will" and warned the general public that "the Indian population must not be regarded in the light of slaves." His pleas went unheeded.
The first California legislature passed the Indian Act of 1850, which authorized the arrest of "vagrant" Natives who could then be "hired out" to the highest bidder. This act also enabled white persons to go before a justice of the peace to obtain Indian children "for indenture."
According to one scholarly estimate, this act may have affected as many as 20,000 California Indians, including four thousand children kidnapped from their parents and employed primarily as domestic servants and farm laborers.
Americans learned about this other slavery one state at a time. In New Mexico, James S. Calhoun, the first Indian agent of the territory, could not hide his amazement at the sophistication of the Indian slave market.
"The value of the captives depends upon age, sex, beauty, and usefulness," wrote Calhoun. "Good looking females, not having passed the 'sear and yellow leaf,' are valued from $50 to $150 each males, as they may be useful, one-half less, never more."
Calhoun met many of these slaves and wrote pithy notes about them: "Refugio Picaros, about twelve years of age, taken from a rancho near Santiago, State of Durango, Mexico two years ago by Comanches, who immediately sold him to the Apaches, and with them he lived and roamed . . . until January last , when he was bought by José Francisco Lucero, a New Mexican residing at the Moro."
"Teodora Martel, ten or twelve years of age, was taken from the service of José Alvarado near Saltillo, Mexico by Apaches two years ago, and has remained the greater portion of the time on the west side of the Rio del Norte."
Americans settling the West did more than become familiar with this other type of bondage. They became part of the system.
Mormon settlers arrived in Utah in the 1840s looking for a promised land, only to discover that Indians and Mexicans had already turned the Great Basin into a slaving ground. The area was like a gigantic moonscape of bleached sand, salt flats, and mountain ranges inhabited by small bands no larger than extended families.
Early travelers to the West did not hide their contempt for these "digger Indians," who lacked both horses and weapons. These vulnerable Paiutes, as they were known, had become easy prey for other, mounted Indians.
Brigham Young and his followers, after establishing themselves in the area, became the most obvious outlet for these captives. Hesitant at first, the Mormons required some encouragement from slavers, who tortured children with knives or hot irons to call attention to their trade and elicit sympathy from potential buyers or threatened to kill any child who went unpurchased.
Brigham Young's son-in-law Charles Decker witnessed the execution of an Indian girl before he agreed to exchange his gun for another captive. In the end, the Mormons became buyers and even found a way to rationalize their participation in this human market.
"Buy up the Lamanite [Indian] children," Brigham Young counseled his brethren in the town of Parowan, "and educate them and teach them the gospel, so that many generations would not pass ere they should become a white and delight- some people." This was the same logic Spanish conquistadors had used in the sixteenth century to justify the acquisition of Indian slaves.
The beginnings of this other slavery are lost in the mists of time. Native peoples such as the Zapotecs, Mayas and Aztecs took captives to use as sacrificial victims the Iroquois waged campaigns called "mourning wars" on neighboring groups to avenge and replace their dead and Indians in the Pacific Northwest included male and female slaves as part of the goods sent by the groom to his bride's family to finalize marriages among the elite.
Native Americans had enslaved each other for millennia, but with the arrival of Europeans, practices of captivity originally embedded in specific cultural contexts became commodified, expanded in unexpected ways, and came to resemble the kinds of human trafficking that are recognizable to us today.
The earliest European explorers began this process by taking indigenous slaves. Columbus's very first business venture in the New World consisted of sending four caravels loaded to capacity with 550 Natives back to Europe, to be auctioned off in the markets of the Mediterranean.
Others followed in the Admiral's lead. The English, French, Dutch and Portuguese all became important participants in the Indian slave trade. Spain, however, by virtue of the large and densely populated colonies it ruled, became the dominant slaving power. Indeed, Spain was to Indian slavery what Portugal and later England were to African slavery.
Ironically, Spain was the first imperial power to formally discuss and recognize the humanity of Indians. In the early 1500s, the Spanish monarchs prohibited Indian slavery except in special cases, and after 1542 they banned the practice altogether.
Unlike African slavery, which remained legal and firmly sustained by racial prejudice and the struggle against Islam, the enslavement of Native Americans was against the law. Yet this categorical prohibition did not stop generations of determined conquistadors and colonists from taking Native slaves on a planetary scale, from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States to the tip of South America, and from the Canary Islands to the Philippines.
The fact that this other slavery had to be carried out clandestinely made it even more insidious. It is a tale of good intentions gone badly astray.
When I began researching my book "The Other Slavery," one number was of particular interest to me: how many Indian slaves had there been in the Americas since the time of Columbus?
My initial belief was that Indian slavery had been somewhat marginal. Even if the traffic of Indians had flourished during the early colonial period, it must have gone into deep decline once African slaves and paid workers became available in sufficient numbers.
Along with most other historians, I assumed that the real story of exploitation in the New World involved the 12 million Africans carried off across the Atlantic. But as I kept collecting sources on Indian slavery in Spanish, Mexican and U.S. archives, I began to see things differently.
Indian slavery never went away, but rather coexisted with African slavery from the sixteenth all the way through the late nineteenth century. This realization made me ponder more seriously the question of visibility.
Because African slavery was legal, its victims are easy to spot in the historical record. They were taxed on their entry into ports and appear on bills of sale, wills, and other documents. Because these slaves had to cross the Atlantic Ocean, they were scrupulously &mdash one could even say obsessively &mdash counted along the way.
The final tally of 12.5 million enslaved Africans matters greatly because it has shaped our perception of African slavery in fundamental ways. Whenever we read about a slave market in Virginia, a slaving raid into the interior of Angola, or a community of runaways in Brazil, we are well aware that all these events were part of a vast system spanning the Atlantic world and involving millions of victims.
Excerpted from The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America © 2016 by Andrés Reséndez. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Native Americans in Colonial America
Native Americans resisted the efforts of the Europeans to gain more land and control during the colonial period, but they struggled to do so against a sea of problems, including new diseases, the slave trade, and an ever-growing European population.
Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, U.S. History
Diplomacy between Cheyenne and Settlers
Whether through diplomacy, war, or even alliances, Native American efforts to resist European encroachment further into their lands were often unsuccessful in the colonial era. This woodcut shows members of the Cheyenne nation conducting diplomacy with settlers of European descent in the 1800s.
Photograph of woodcut by North Wind Picture Archives
During the colonial period, Native Americans had a complicated relationship with European settlers. They resisted the efforts of the Europeans to gain more of their land and control through both warfare and diplomacy. But problems arose for the Native Americans, which held them back from their goal, including new diseases, the slave trade, and the ever-growing European population in North America.
In the 17 th century, as European nations scrambled to claim the already occupied land in the &ldquoNew World,&rdquo some leaders formed alliances with Native American nations to fight foreign powers. Some famous alliances were formed during the French and Indian War of 1754&ndash1763. The English allied with the Iroquois Confederacy, while the Algonquian-speaking tribes joined forces with the French and the Spanish. The English won the war, and claimed all of the land east of the Mississippi River. The English-allied Native Americans were given part of that land, which they hoped would end European expansion&mdashbut unfortunately only delayed it. Europeans continued to enter the country following the French and Indian War, and they continued their aggression against Native Americans. Another consequence of allying with Europeans was that Native Americans were often fighting neighboring tribes. This caused rifts that kept some Native American tribes from working together to stop European takeover.
Native Americans were also vulnerable during the colonial era because they had never been exposed to European diseases, like smallpox, so they didn&rsquot have any immunity to the disease, as some Europeans did. European settlers brought these new diseases with them when they settled, and the illnesses decimated the Native Americans&mdashby some estimates killing as much as 90 percent of their population. Though many epidemics happened prior to the colonial era in the 1500s, several large epidemics occurred in the 17 th and 18 th centuries among various Native American populations. With the population sick and decreasing, it became more and more difficult to mount an opposition to European expansion.
Another aspect of the colonial era that made the Native Americans vulnerable was the slave trade. As a result of the wars between the European nations, Native Americans allied with the losing side were often indentured or enslaved. There were even Native Americans shipped out of colonies like South Carolina into slavery in other places, like Canada.
These problems that arose for the Native Americans would only get worse in the 19 th century, leading to greater confinement and the extermination of native people. Unfortunately, the colonial era was neither the start nor the end of the long, dark history of treatment of Native Americans by Europeans and their decedent&rsquos throughout in the United States.
Let’s have a look and go through the myths one by one, from enslavement to genocide
We find that Spanish King Fernando II signed a decree as early as 1512, which declared Native Americans as ‘free men’, and mandated that they would be paid a fair wage for any job they were employed in. (Laws of Burgos) This happened even before first reports of wide scale and systematic maltreatment of Natives started to come in. At this point remember that Columbus himself had been recalled and died in disgrace and poverty as a result of maltreatment of natives during his stint.
It wasn’t Cortez and his men who massacred the 200,000 Aztecs
200,000 Aztecswhen Tenochtitlan was conquered by
80,000 Native american allies – it was their allies. People whose relatives, even family members were taken as tribute by Aztecs and were massacred or were eatenin ritual slaughter, or were kept as food stock to be eaten in famines. These people didn’t have any mercy for their Aztec compatriots. It’s questionable whether Cortez and his men would want to stop their allies after knowing what Aztecs did to them, and its totally questionable that they could.
When Cortez was recalled back to Spain in 1528, the remaining colonial administrator, Guzman, engages in pillaging, enslavement and wars against the native american populations. Then Cortez returns with a bunch of judges. Spanish had been insisting that natives keep written records of history, which they were not doing until then. The first written records which the natives created during Guzman’s stint are used as evidence against him and native americans testify as witnesses in court for his crimes. Court condemns and sentences Guzman, who is sent back to Spain in chains as a traitor and enemy of the crown for his crimes against native americans.
One of the judges not only rails against slavery of natives in his reports to the Spanish crown, but also proceeds to repair and rebuild the native communities with his own money. He sets up advanced communities in which native americans are taught European technical skills, but their native culture is preserved. They rule themselves and are called “Republicas de Indios”.
To top that, In 1542, a Spanish humanist, las Casas, succeeded in persuading Spanish court, nobility and clergy that Indians could not be treated as subhumans and could not be subjected to slavery, based on humanitarian arguments, leading to Native Americans to be declared Spanish subjects with equal standing with Spaniards. (New Laws) This is a major feat, since such a result could only come with broad agreement of crown, top nobility, and the clergy, not just the crown itself. This means that the majority of the Spanish establishment agreed with these humanist arguments.
Again, in 1550, he won another debate against private interests who were arguing that Natives were subhuman and therefore needed ‘masters’ to ‘civilize’.
Local nobility and establishment tried to circumvent these decrees to the extent they could, to exploit and prosper at the expense of Natives, rebelled against the New Laws under the leadership Pizzaro’s half-brother Gonzalo Pizzaro who ruled major regions as a noble, but then this led to Spanish crown recalling then appointed viceroy and sending a viceroy who was specifically tasked with implementing these laws, who beat Pizzaro and executed him. Even if the crown was not able to fully assert all the laws it issued due to resistance from local nobility, it still succeeded in granting immense protections, rights and comparable equality for its native subjects.
As a result, there are 6 million pure blooded Incans today, Native Americans are either majority in numerous South American countries or constitute significant segments inside the population in others, and there are entire races of mixed European-Native ancestry which we call Mexicans and other South Americans.
pure blooded Incans today, Native Americans are either majority in numerous South American countries or constitute significant segments inside the population in others, and there are entire races of mixed European-Native ancestry which we call Mexicans and other South Americans.
Compare this to North America, where someone is counted ‘Native american’ if s/he has 1/40 native american blood, solely because Anglo establishment eradicated an entire continent.
Such arguments as las Casas made were unimaginable in Anglosphere.There wasnt even such an ongoing debate – native americans were subhuman, and because they weren’t even good for using as slaves (they knew the land and escaped), it was better to totally eradicate them. This fit in totally with the agenda of chartered colonization companies because it maximized their profit, and English crown, because it maximized the share it got from those profits and the trade.
But, it wasn’t only las Casas who was in contrast with the Anglo-literature propaganda that goes back to Elizabethan age. Spanish actions and deeds in South America from the start spark a large contrast to what is claimed by that literature:
1 – Brutal conquistadors
300–500 people. As any student of history would know, 300 people can never conquer an entire continent. Even if they were actually brutal.
The reality is that it was Spanish conquistadors and their Indian allies who conquered the Aztec. In the last pitched battles, Aztec army numbered towards 100,000 , and the alliance army that fought them also numbered around the same 100,000 mark.
, and the alliance army that fought them also numbered around the same 100,000
mark.Spanish was just a part of that army, and they were leading the army as the alliance leaders.
And, they did it spectacularly well, through strategy, diplomacy and all the traits which the anglo-literature deprives them of for it takes a lot of diplomatic skill to lead hundreds of different tribes which had numerous enmities among themselves that go back to hundreds of years and unite them in a cohesive military operation. By the way, Europe has never seen any military operation that big like these ones, from ancient Rome to Early Modern Age. It is a major feat in many ways.
There was a factor which united all these tribes and allied them with the Spanish: their hatred of Aztecs.
Aztecs, who were yearly sacrificing up to 100,000 people empire wide, including children.
100,000 people empire wide, including children.
As you can understand, after a hundred or so years of having your youth, women, children murdered in altars, camaraderie towards the fellow natives who rule you goes out of the window. As such, many local tribes and kingdoms were utterly hating the Aztec with their guts.
The brutality which a segment of Aztec population was subjected to after the fall of their empire, therefore, becomes very easy to understand – it wasnt something that was propagated by the
300–500 conquistadors, it would necessitate hundreds of thousands of people seeking revenge for their people slaughtered in the altars.
2 – Spanish treatment of Natives
In contrast to what Anglo-sphere used to do with natives, seeing them as non-human and treating them as such, Spanish treated them as equals:
- Conquistadors immediately started marrying into native nobility to establish legitimacy as rulers. This is something unthinkable in anglosphere. Incidentally it is the start of today’s mestizo (mixed) races in South America.
- Combined with decree of 1512 which declared native americans as free men, conquistadors marrying into the nobility from the start, and especially later laws declaring Native Americans as Spanish subjects, marriage in between Spaniards and natives was not only now legal, but also socially acceptable. As a result, today we have a country called Mexico which is populated by 125 million people, all of which are either mestizos or totally/partially pure blooded Native Americans. There is no such phenomenon in North America, where Native Americans were actually eradicated.
- While native american kingdoms’ top governance was replaced with a viceroy, many kingdoms and their administration were left intact. Conquistadors and early viceroys only changed top administration, though middle level administration were also replaced by Spaniards or Mestizos in later times, majority of Native American culture, institutions and governance were kept.
- So much that Spanish crown granted autonomy to major tribes which allied with them. These Indian kingdoms were subject to Spanish crown in foreign policy, but totally independent in their internal affairs. This went on until early 19th century.
- Natives and Mestizos consisted part of Spanish empire’s institutions, ranging from its bureaucracy in New Spain to even its navy: The biggest, most successful privateer in history isn’t Drake, Kidd or Hawkins, it is a mestizo,Miguel Enríquez,who was such a successful privateer that he operated a fleet of 300 ships at the top of his career, and he was ennobled for his deeds. He was awarded with various medals and exceptions for his service, and his fleet was also functioning as a courier network for Spanish crown. The impact of Miguel on merchant and naval power of the other powers in the region was such that it is said Spanish king stated that he only needed a few more people like Enrique and he wouldn’t need a navy.
- Aside from the early plagues brought from Europe, no native population under Spain’s control risked eradication or ethnic cleansing: The native populations of western and south western North America started to disappear only after they came under Anglosphere domination through United States, whereas they did not suffer any such genocide during Spanish or Mexican rule. Same applies to the native peoples in central North America, under French rule.
3 – Spanish treatment of New Spain
Spanish declared and treated New Spain as a part of Spain. Not as a colony, or a land to exploit.
- Over 23 universities were opened in New Spain, which were open to Native Americans. With first university being founded in 1538.
- In 1580, by the order of Spanish Crown, Indigenous languages departments were set up in Mexico and Lima universities, with the purpose of studying and teaching of indigenous languages. Indigenous languages were not only kept, but also studied and taught extensively.
- Even as late as early 19th century, Spain was still spending tax revenue on infrastructure building in New Spain, building it up as a part of Spain itself – buildings, roads, bridges and whatever you may pick. Doing as such instead of solely exploiting and sucking the land dry like English colonizers did, was a major factor in weakening of the Spanish power since it drained funds from the crown’s coffers.
There are many other sub-topics which can be examined here, however these main points go beyond the needed arguments which would explain the great disparage in between actual historical reality and Anglosphere-propagated narrative.
Why is there such a narrative in Anglosphere?
Simply because of the fact that when Elizabethan establishment tried the ‘Look how evil they are, look how we are the torch bearers of freedom’ propaganda to legitimize their political position and interests and vilify their enemy, it worked.
And as you have possibly immediately noticed, this propaganda mechanic stayed exactly the same throughout 500 years, and it is still employed by the Anglosphere establishment today – ranging from invasions in Middle East to economic/clandestine warfare against any targeted country.
The propaganda, as you can judge from recent history, is effective both abroad and at home – it easily persuades the citizens of its own country that they are ‘the good guys’, due to the tendency in mankind to be on the good side, and abroad it easily instills doubt about and even successes in vilifying the targeted country.
Naturally, those who grow up in Anglosphere or anglosphere-influenced countries with a never-ending torrent of ‘we are the good guys, they are the bad guys’ in every topic of history including the colonization era, grow up with a view of reality that is practically manufactured at the expense of actual history. And naturally these people find ‘outrageous acts’ of the rival establishments as things that require justice, but the civilization-scale genocidal acts of their own establishment as ‘mistakes’, or just ‘happenings’.
Like how majority of North American native american populations have stayed virtually intact under the rule of French, Spanish and Mexican establishments for 300 years and did not get wiped out by epidemics, but they suddenly started suffering epidemics which wiped them out when they fell under United States rule…
300 years and did not get wiped out by epidemics, but they suddenly started suffering epidemics which wiped them out when they fell under United States rule…
An epidemic, indeed, but not an epidemic of the biological kind.
This historical information by no means justifies or rationalizes conquest of New World…
By Spain, Portugal or anyone else…
Conquest cannot be justified – if some ‘superior’ alien civilization would attempt to conquer you today, ‘for your own good’ , you would resist with all you have.
As a result this information does not support any ultra-nationalist or extremist viewpoints. Neither it can be used for that purpose.
What it does is to just set the historical record straight to free it of extreme bias of a particular establishment.
US healthcare is awful - for those who don't have enough money to pay for it or who had, but&hellip
When Native Americans Were Slaves
Initially, Indian slavery was considered different from African slavery in the early Anglo-American colonial world, but this split did last for long.
The English came to the New World proud of their conception of liberty. Historian Michael Guasco writes that the settlers claimed their antipathy for slavery contrasted them from the rest of the world, especially their colonial competitor Spain, already infamous for working Native Americans to death. Yet after the Pequot War of 1637, Puritans shipped captured Pequots to bondage in a small Puritan community on the coast of Nicaragua called Providence Island. There they were called “cannibal negroes” to distinguish them from the native Moskitos, with whom the Puritans wished to maintain good relations. Guasco calls this “Anglo-America’s first true slave society.”
Soon after, in 1641, Massachusetts became the first North American colony to legally authorize slavery. Several hundred other Pequot captives were in bondage there, and African slavery was already established.
Yet, as Guasco notes, Indian slavery and African slavery remained distinct in the minds of the early colonialists. There was little ambiguity about the morality of enslaving Africans: the demand for labor was great and a race-based plantation system fit the bill. All through the seventeenth century, continues Guasco, “the creeping encroachment of plantation slavery among the English in the Americas and the racialization of non-European peoples” proceeded apace.
But when it came to the indigenous peoples, the English were deeply ambivalent. Initially, English colonial promoters painted native peoples as natural allies against the Spanish, claiming they were indeed akin to the English (except in religion and civil government). But the propaganda used in England to justify this occupation of a foreign land was rather different. The tensions and conflicts that developed as a consequence of colonial invasion manifested in major resistance.
1622 brought a bloody uprising, in which the Powhatan Confederacy launched a surprise attack and killed a quarter of the English population of the Virginia colony. After that, the English more readily turned to demonizing the Indians. Perhaps they weren’t just Englishmen-in-waiting, after all. Some English writers went so far as adopting Spanish rationals for enslaving native peoples.
The Native Americans still weren’t as dehumanized as Africans, at least not yet. The Pequots sent to Nicaragua were supposed to be redeemed by their bondage. This was a kind of slavery deeply rooted in English society, where bondage was a “realistic punitive and rehabilitative institution.” Criminals, even English ones, could be sentenced to bondage for a set period of time. So it was not a labor system per se, as African slavery was from virtually its beginnings.
Guasco’s tracing of the subtle shifts in the meanings of human bondage sheds light on how people justified the system. Indian slavery was “ultimately absorbed by the plantation complex,” especially in the Carolinas and Georgia by the second half of the seventeenth century. “The fiction that there might be a practical, even educational, component to human bondage dissipated as slavery increasingly revealed itself as a base and brutal labor institution that most Englishmen were able to tolerate so long as they avoided thinking about it too much.”
Guasco notes that Americans like to think that slavery “was an accident of Anglo-American colonialism.” The debates over enslaving Indians show rather that the subject of bondage “elicited a great deal of thought well before the birth of the plantation complex.”
The Westos and Other Slavers
As the English colonies expanded, so did the Native American slave trade, facilitated, in large part, by Native American tribes. Carolina (later North and South Carolina) was founded in 1663, but settlers in that region were already engaged in the enslavement of Native Americans through the actions of the Westo tribe who helped to enslave thousands who were then shipped out of the country. Resendez comments:
In the period between 1670 and 1720, Carolinians exported more Indians out of Charleston, South Carolina, than they imported Africans into it. As this traffic developed, the colonists increasingly procured their indigenous captives from the Westo Indians, an extraordinarily expansive group that conducted raids all over the region. Anthropologist Robbie Ethridge has coined the term “militaristic slaving societies” to refer to groups like the Westos that became major suppliers of Native captives to Europeans and other Indians. (172)
The Westos operated entirely from financial self-interest and were the enemies of all the surrounding tribes. Thought to have originally lived in the north around present-day Lake Erie, they migrated south and first enter the historical record in July of 1661 when they destroyed a Spanish mission in modern-day Georgia. They established themselves in the wilds of Virginia and quickly monopolized the slave trade, raiding other tribes’ lands indiscriminately and selling the captives to the colonists. The Westo monopoly continued until the Shawnee brokered a deal with the colonists in trade and allied with them to destroy the Westos completely in 1680. Surviving members of the Westo tribe were then enslaved themselves or escaped, and their fate is unknown. It is unlikely that any would have been taken in by other tribes except as slaves.
The departure of the Westos from the slave trade did nothing to slow or stop it, as the Shawnee then enslaved others they took in raids. Further west, the Spanish had enslaved the native tribes collectively referred to as the Pueblo Indians and were assisted in this by one tribe capturing and selling members of another. In modern-day New Mexico, this continued until 1680 when a Native American leader named Po’Pay organized a mass uprising, known as the Pueblo Revolt, that drove the Spanish from the region for the next decade.
This revolt was primarily motivated by religion in that the Spanish Catholic missionaries suppressed Native American spiritual traditions and replaced them with Catholic Christianity. One of Po’Pay’s first acts in the insurrection, in fact, was the declaration that Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary were dead, and missions and churches throughout the region were burned. The Pueblo Revolt exemplifies another aspect of and justification for Native American enslavement by European colonists in that it was their belief that the natives had to be “civilized”, and this concept was synonymous with “Christianized”. By enslaving natives, the colonists removed them from their traditional spiritual landscape, forcing them to turn toward Christian masters and the Bible for salvation.
The so-called Indian Wars of the 18th century led to further enslavement of combatants and non-combatants beginning with the Tuscarora War (1711-1715) in North Carolina and the Yamasee War (1715-1717) in South Carolina. These conflicts continued up through the eve of the American Revolution and resulted in, among other things, more and more natives shipped out of the country as slaves.
Native American tribes continued to participate in the enslavement of fellow indigenous peoples throughout this time. Many seem to have done so in the belief that, by their participation, they protected themselves from enslavement. By proving themselves useful to the colonists, they thought, they would receive better treatment than others, retain their land, and live as they had before the arrival of the Europeans. As Taylor notes above, they understood too late that they could not trust the words of the white people and that any tribe could be enslaved or removed from their lands for any reason, no matter how hard they tried to ingratiate themselves with the newcomers.
When Europeans Were Slaves: Research Suggests White Slavery Was Much More Common Than Previously Believed
A new study suggests that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 &ndash a far greater number than had ever been estimated before.
In a new book, Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed a unique methodology to calculate the number of white Christians who were enslaved along Africa&rsquos Barbary Coast, arriving at much higher slave population estimates than any previous studies had found.
Most other accounts of slavery along the Barbary coast didn&rsquot try to estimate the number of slaves, or only looked at the number of slaves in particular cities, Davis said. Most previously estimated slave counts have thus tended to be in the thousands, or at most in the tens of thousands. Davis, by contrast, has calculated that between 1 million and 1.25 million European Christians were captured and forced to work in North Africa from the 16th to 18th centuries.
&ldquoMuch of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe,&rdquo Davis said. &ldquoMost accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.&rdquo
Davis said it is useful to compare this Mediterranean slavery to the Atlantic slave trade that brought black Africans to the Americas. Over the course of four centuries, the Atlantic slave trade was much larger &ndash about 10 to 12 million black Africans were brought to the Americas. But from 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas, according to Davis.
&ldquoOne of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature &ndash that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true,&rdquo Davis said. &ldquoWe cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people.&rdquo
During the time period Davis studied, it was religion and ethnicity, as much as race, that determined who became slaves.
&ldquoEnslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland,&rdquo he said.
Pirates (called corsairs) from cities along the Barbary Coast in north Africa &ndash cities such as Tunis and Algiers &ndash would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact of these attacks were devastating &ndash France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior.
Although hundreds of thousands of Christian slaves were taken from Mediterranean countries, Davis noted, the effects of Muslim slave raids was felt much further away: it appears, for example, that through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers.
Even Americans were not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793.
Davis said the vast scope of slavery in North Africa has been ignored and minimized, in large part because it is on no one&rsquos agenda to discuss what happened.
The enslavement of Europeans doesn&rsquot fit the general theme of European world conquest and colonialism that is central to scholarship on the early modern era, he said. Many of the countries that were victims of slavery, such as France and Spain, would later conquer and colonize the areas of North Africa where their citizens were once held as slaves. Maybe because of this history, Western scholars have thought of the Europeans primarily as &ldquoevil colonialists&rdquo and not as the victims they sometimes were, Davis said.
Davis said another reason that Mediterranean slavery has been ignored or minimized has been that there have not been good estimates of the total number of people enslaved. People of the time &ndash both Europeans and the Barbary Coast slave owners &ndash did not keep detailed, trustworthy records of the number of slaves. In contrast, there are extensive records that document the number of Africans brought to the Americas as slaves.
So Davis developed a new methodology to come up with reasonable estimates of the number of slaves along the Barbary Coast. Davis found the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time. He then estimated how many new slaves it would take to replace slaves as they died, escaped or were ransomed.
&ldquoThe only way I could come up with hard numbers is to turn the whole problem upside down &ndash figure out how many slaves they would have to capture to maintain a certain level,&rdquo he said. &ldquoIt is not the best way to make population estimates, but it is the only way with the limited records available.&rdquo
Putting together such sources of attrition as deaths, escapes, ransomings, and conversions, Davis calculated that about one-fourth of slaves had to be replaced each year to keep the slave population stable, as it apparently was between 1580 and 1680. That meant about 8,500 new slaves had to be captured each year. Overall, this suggests nearly a million slaves would have been taken captive during this period. Using the same methodology, Davis has estimated as many as 475,000 additional slaves were taken in the previous and following centuries.
The result is that between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.
Davis said his research into the treatment of these slaves suggests that, for most of them, their lives were every bit as difficult as that of slaves in America.
&ldquoAs far as daily living conditions, the Mediterranean slaves certainly didn&rsquot have it better,&rdquo he said.
While African slaves did grueling labor on sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, European Christian slaves were often worked just as hard and as lethally &ndash in quarries, in heavy construction, and above all rowing the corsair galleys themselves.
Davis said his findings suggest that this invisible slavery of European Christians deserves more attention from scholars.
&ldquoWe have lost the sense of how large enslavement could loom for those who lived around the Mediterranean and the threat they were under,&rdquo he said. &ldquoSlaves were still slaves, whether they are black or white, and whether they suffered in America or North Africa.&rdquo