Legitimating Conquest and Slavery in the New World Essay

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A Spaniard by the name of Christopher Columbus set sail on a voyage heading west across the Atlantic Ocean to Asia. This 1492 voyage turned out to be a discovery of another continent, America. Columbus thought that he had reached East Indies, but was in fact, in the Caribbean. The native people that inhabited the island were curious to see these new visitors and came out to greet them. The natives or ?Indians? as Columbus called them were friendly and generous people, giving gifts to the European travelers. Soon after the arrival, the Europeans started to take over and take what they pleased. As more Europeans came to the Americas, the population of the Indians declined in great numbers. The Europeans brought many dreadful diseases and had…show more content…
As a faithful servant to the King and Queen of Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus wrote a letter with details of the land and the native people who inhabit it. The way he described the natives, or? Indians? is that are timorous people who are naked and they have no weapons and are not fitted to use them. This way King Ferdinand will read that the natives on the land we will conquer are shy, they have no armor or no weapons, and if they had any, they wouldn?t know how to fight with them. ?They do not carry arms nor are they acquainted with them.? (Belmonte, 2) After receiving Columbus? letter, King Ferdinand sent a proclamation to the native people. This proclamation legitimized the taking of the land and the people who reside there and is now property of the King of Spain. While the proclamation was being read to the Indians, no one disagreed to it, this could be because the Indians did not speak Spanish. In our lecture, we learned that the definition of Legitimation is to make legal that which is fundamentally illegal. The Europeans took the land and the freedom of the Indians by reading a piece of paper stating it was through divine law. With legitimation it was legal to use terrorism upon the people, it was legal to kill, enslave, steal property, and punish. Now that the Europeans had the physical control, land and the people, it was then they needed the mental control, the fear of the native people. ?If you don?t do what I tell you, I will

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