Present-day historians have shed the light of modern understanding to issues that plagued peoples of the past. One example of this can easily be seen in the ideals popularized in Europe from the late fifteenth to the mid seventeenth centuries regarding the Americas and its inhabitants. The Americas had a discernable impact upon Europe, and vice versa; though neither group initially set out to change the world that was the unforeseen and wholly "unintended consequence" of discovery. The discovery of the Americas and its inhabitants undoubtedly lead to changes in the intellectual, political and economic life in Europe.
The shift of intellectual thought was a slow, gradual process that continued far after the initial discovery of the Americas. The mere discovery of a land that had previously been unknown to most of the world was significant in and of itself, but the discovery of the peoples who inhabited the land was a revelation. Europeans had never before been exposed to such a diversity of peoples.
The Indians were unique and new to the Europeans. Initially they were plagued with curiosity about these newfound peoples. With exploration of these new lands and close study of these "new" people came disgust-for some were convinced that the Indians were inferior and incapable of reasonable thought. This view enhanced the idea that Indians were not even human-some tribes practiced human sacrifice. Thus a debate on the humanity of the Indians was waged. In 1537 Pope Paul III proclaimed that Native Americans were indeed human, though the extent of their humanity was still in conflict (62).
Printing was the main manner in which information and ideas regarding the new world were spread-the impact the Americas had on Europe would have been hampered without printing (65). There emerged many different writers during this time, and through them a few discernable beliefs. Some proclaimed a Golden Age, in which the daily life of Indians... [continues]
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