Spanish Conquest of South America
Spanish Conquest of South America
The Age of Exploration was an important time period in history without which the modern map would not be as we see it today. During this era, Europeans had a sudden urge to explore, discover, a feeling they had never had before. With the advancement in technology, the Europeans, as well as the Asians were able to explore the uncharted seas and discover the unknown land. During this time, many discoveries were made, but the one most remembered is the discovery of the Americas. This was a big discovery which added a whole new continent, never known about, onto their map.
As soon as the land was discovered, so was the curiosity of the Spanish. The land was soon inhabited by the Spanish as well as the indigenous. The two races lived side by side happily, but soon the Spanish greed for gold, glory became too much and disaster struck. Whole communities were torn, murders committed and whole communities exterminated. Genocide: a terrible crime against the indigenous. Apart from the wars, more deaths were occurring, however they were not intentional.
Both Spanish and the Indigenous were falling victims to new diseases. There were many reasons for death/murder whether intentional or not but no races or cultures were put to extinction due to the attack by the Spanish proving that the Spanish Conquest was not a genocide. After the discovery of America, the Spanish had access to a whole new continent, a whole new way of life as well as people. The Spanish were eager to lay claims on whatever they could, build their power, and gain wealth.
The Spanish built communities, they scavenged for the land, for power and for control. The Spanish bred happily, sharing their way of life with the indigenous, learning new techniques, mastering technology and living peacefully. However, soon the Spanish wanted more; their greed was for more than what they had and soon war struck out. To gain power, land and wealth, the Spanish attacked the indigenous, taking as much as they could. The war raged on until the Spanish had full control, the indigenous people were forced to retreat.
The land was destroyed. The Spanish had killed so many for a mere piece of land. Exploration wasn’t always safe. It exposed the explorers as well as the indigenous people to diseases, foods, animals they had never encountered before and this was going to prove dangerous. The indigenous people were exposed to diseases such as Influenza or Tuberculosis against which their immune systems had no power having never encountered them before. These diseases killed more people the wars fought between the Spanish and Indigenous.
As the time passed, the indigenous people developed immunity against these diseases however these diseases never stopped and forever remained on the island infecting and maybe even killing more people over time. This effect didn’t happen only to the Indigenous. The Spanish were also exposed to new diseases such as Polio and Hepatitis which were even carried back overseas to Europe infecting a much larger population. Apart from only the diseases, new foods were also stumbled upon.
These foods could make you fatally sick due to the fact that your body (as with the diseases) has never encountered them. Some foods that the Spanish came across were Tobacco and Tomatoes while the indigenous came across Coffee and Rice. During the Spanish Conquest of South America, many deaths occurred. There were intentional killings through the wars and equally unless more due to the exposure to a new environment. The Spanish killed many people, destroyed many communities, however they did not exterminate whole races as in the definition of genocide.
Races or cultures might have been put to extinction later due to the diseases that were imported to America from Europe. The Spanish killed and destroyed however no races or cultures were put to extinction by this attack proving that the Spanish Conquest was not genocide. The Age of Exploration was an important time period in history without which we would not know of half the world available to us. Now the Europeans too to exploring the seas, discovering new land, it was now that the continent of America was discovered. This was an exciting new discovery for the Spanish.
The Spanish were eager to inhabit the newly found land and gain power and wealth. They found the indigenous and continued living peacefully together. The Spanish greed soon became more than they could handle and war was started. However, those were not the only problems occurring in South America. The Spanish had brought with them diseases. People were dying everywhere, but was the question is whether it was genocide. Looking carefully, we can conclude this was not genocide as there were no cultures or races put to extinction by the Spanish.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 January 2017
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