How Europe saw the Native Americans

Topics: United States, Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pages: 3 (739 words) Published: September 26, 2013
In the time of the discovery of the New World, Europeans contained conflicting views concerning the New World and its inhabitants. Members of the Spanish, French, English and Dutch nations forged relationships with the American Indians in order to advance themselves in a variety of economic, social and political factors. The majority of Europeans considered indigenous people as inferior because of their difference in religion, agricultural practice, housing, and dress. However, Europeans sought to gain profit from trade and new resources when they journeyed into the New World, knowing that the New World inhabitants would be an important asset to make this journey successful. Contrastingly, there were European’s who felt that the mistreatment of Indians was unfair.

At the time, Spain was the most powerful monarchy in the New World. According to James A. Henretta, “in Mesoamerica and South America, the Spanish had seized the Indians’ lands, converted many Indians to Catholicism, and forced them to mine gold and farm large estates.(pg. 37)” When Columbus first encountered these indigenous people, according to The Diario of Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage, he initially thought “they should be good and intelligent servants, for I see that they say quickly everything that is said to them “ (RTAP pg. 21).Columbus then went against the monarchy of Spain to continuously enslave and brutalize them. If the Indians survived the initial invasion, they were required to work and accept Christianity. According to Colin G. Calloway from New Worlds for All, “in the eyes of the Christian invaders, Indians had no real religion; converting them to Christianity would be a simple matter of filling a dark void with the light of the gospel” (IOAH, pg. 73) The Indians who resisted conversion to Christianity were doomed to encomiendas, which were according to Henretta, “royal grants giving the Spanish legal control over the land and Native American workers.”(pg. 26). The Native...
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