Amerindians Essay, Research Paper

In this study, I shall follow the protagonists on their journey from innocent people to people filled with hatred. I shall be primarily concerned with the responses, challenges, opportunities and attitudes of the Amerindians, putting special notice on how they were annihilated by the Spanish. The sources we will use we be short accounts by Bartolome de Las Casas and Bartolome Arazans de Orsua. The Amerindians were burned alive, hung, raped and eaten by dogs. The Amerindians noble and innocent characters led them to be abused by the Spaniards. The Spaniards greed was the true motivation that led them in the fight against the unarmed, pure at heart, Amerindians.

Bartolome de Las Casas s accounts began approximately one century after Christopher Columbus had discovered the Americas. He arrived at the New World for many reason in common with other conquistadors. Yet later changed his ways and became known as the Defender and Apostle of the Indians, the most controversial figure in the long and troubled history of Spain s American empire. (Bartolome de Las Casas, Short Account in the Destruction of the Indies. Published by Penguin Books 1992. xiii) Bartolome de Las Casas did the only thing he could, he informed everyone in Spain about the massacres that were occurring in the New World. Bartolome de Las Casas was a great man with much valor and what he did will never be forgotten.

Another source that historians can use to demonstrate the difficulties suffered by the Amerindians are the Tales of Potosi. Bartolome Arazans de Orsua wrote Tales of Potosi. He lived in Potosi all of his life and was a witness to all the massacres the Amerindians faced. In these tales we see once again the horrific treatment of the Spaniards towards the Amerindians. We can also see that the Spaniards were nothing more than greedy men with only money as their true motivation. The Spaniards use God s name in their doings but many argue that God would never allow such behaviors. Being a primary source, Tales of Potosi show us not only the Christendom of the Spaniards and the conversion of the Amerindians, it also tells us much about their economic life. Also we are allowed to better inform ourselves of their form of government in the New World. (Tales of Potosi, A Tale of Sound and Fury, pages 13-19). In this paper we will be able to better understand the treatment of the Amerindians in the time of Bartolome de Las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and then we will see the changes, if any in the Tales of Potosi. Along with this we will the economic life style of Spaniards and Amerindians along with the change in political methods. We will become more familiar with the responses, activities, attitudes and challengers faced by the Amerindians in the New World.

The Amerindians responded in many different ways to the treatment on the Spaniards. Many believed that gold was the God of the Spanish adventurers; they would be welcomed with gifts of gold in order to spare their lives. (Las Casas, 42-55) These gifts given to the Spanish were of no use due to the bloodthirsty savages that the Spanish truly were. Some of the Amerindians would try to run away, but the Spanish would find them. Others tried to defend themselves with their bows and arrows but this was not effective due to the advanced weapons of the Spanish. (Las Casas, pages 86-94) The Amerindians were forced to leave their homes and either run away or be killed. Las Casas, pages 89-91, Tales of Potosi, xxi)

Many of the Amerindians were tortured in ways that are unimaginable. Dogs tearing at their skin, being burnt alive, women were raped, being sold into slavery, and being thrown into pit and impaled alive are just a few examples that allow us to realize how truly horrific these massacres truly were. The torturous ways of the Spanish were not the only thing that was lowering the Amerindian population by millions. The Amerindians faced many other challenges forced upon by the conquistadors. Since the first arrival of the Spanish to the New World, disease had been an overpowering obstacle for all of the Amerindians. In both accounts, Tales of Potosi and Las Casas we see how the Amerindians were forced into labor and the Spanish would over work them to the point that they would die. Not only was the massive amount of work killing them, the poor Amerindians suffered from malnutrition as well. (Las Casas, pages 80-84. Tales of Potosi, pages 51-55.)

Even after the Amerindians had heard of the massacres that were occurring in other parts of the New World they would still welcome them as if they were their own flesh and blood they would dance upon them and show affection. They would give the Spanish conquistadors food and gold. In the sources we have used we see how good at heart the Amerindians were. Bartolome de Las Casas truly believed that they were blessed by good. They had a very good relation with one another and in there communities was there was no such thing as theft or any style of coveting. (Las Casas 89-92, 49-51. Latin American Conflict and Creation, Burns Published by Prentice Hall pages 13-15.) Due to all the years of torture, overwork, disease and malnutrition we have very little remains of the Amerindians. Their buildings, arts, cities, and history have all been destroyed. Bartolome de Las Casas and Bartolome Arazans de Orsua have allowed us to have better knowledge of the Amerindians and the New World.

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