North American Indian Timeline

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North American Indian Timeline (1492-1999)
From their nakedness, Columbus inferred the native people to be an inferior race. Columbus wrote of the Indians he encountered, "They all go around as naked as their mothers bore them; and also the women." However, he noted that "they could easily be commanded and made to work, to sow and to do whatever might be needed, to build towns and be taught to wear clothes and adopt our ways." Although Columbus also wrote that "they are the best people in the world and above all the gentlest," his record of the first encounter between Europeans and New World Indians was filled with accounts of enslavement, murder, and rape. 1513

In May, Ponce de Leon encountered Calusa Indians while exploring the Gulf Coast of Florida near Charlotte harbor. In a fight with the Calusa, de Leon captured four warriors. 1524
On July 8, the first kidnapping in America took place. Florentine explorers kidnapped an Indian child to bring to France. 1528
On April 16, the first significant exploration of Florida occurred when Spanish soldier, explorer, and Indian fighter Panfilo de Narvaez saw Indian houses near what is now Tampa Bay. Narvaez claimed Spanish royal title to the land. 1540

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led Mexico's invasion of the north with an expeditionary force of 300 conquistadors and more than one thousand Indian "allies." When they reached Cibola, they found not the promised metropolis but "a little, crowded village, looking as if it had been crumpled all up together." This was the Zuni Pueblo of Hawikuh, whose warriors answered with arrows when Coronado demanded that they swear loyalty to his King. Within an hour, the Spaniards overran the pueblo, and over the next few weeks, they conquered the other Zunis in the region. Coronado moved his camp to the upper Rio Grande, where his soldiers confiscated one pueblo for winter quarters and looted the surrounding pueblos for supplies. During this operation, a Spaniard raped an Indian woman, and when Coronado refused to punish him, the Indians retaliated by stealing horses. Lopez de Cardenas attacked the thieves' pueblo, captured 200 men and methodically burned them all at the stake. 1541

Faced with an incipient uprising, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado ordered an attack on Moho pueblo, a center of Indian resistance. His men were repulsed when they tried to scale the walls, so they settled in for a siege that lasted from January through March. At last, when the Moho tried to slip away, the Spaniards killed more than 200 men, women and children in a massacre that pacified the region. 1542

Under pressure from religious leaders, especially the Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas, Spanish Emperor Carlos V attempted to impose "New Laws" on the Spanish colonies, ending the encomienda system that gave settlers the right to Indian slave labor. 1546

The "New Laws" barring Indian enslavement were repealed at the insistence of New World colonists, who developed a society and economy dependent on slave labor 1552
Bartolome de Las Casa, the first priest ordained in the Western hemisphere and chief architect of the now-defunct "New Laws" against Indian enslavement, published Brief Relations of the Destruction of the Indies, which provided many gruesome examples of the colonists' treatment of Indians. 1598

On November 15, Don Juan Oñate declared possession of Hopi land (in what is now northern Arizona) in the name of the Spanish crown. Four hundred years later, the Hopi have still never signed any treaty with any non-Indian nation. 1600's

Europeans of the time held steadfastly to the belief that their introduced diseases were acts of God being done in their behalf. One settler proclaimed while speaking about the deaths of Native Americans, "Their enterprise failed, for it pleased God to effect these Indians with such a deadly sickness, that out of every 1000, over 950 of them had died, and many of them...
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