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Impact of European Discoveries in the New World

Generations of American schoolchildren have been taught that Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Americas, despite the fact that many diverse peoples had already created social systems and developed flourishing cultures throughout the region. Further, children have been taught that brave and noble explorers and settlers, ranging from the Spanish such as Castillo and Bartolome de las Casas to the French and the English Puritans and Cavaliers in Virginia, created a "New World (Bigelow and Peterson, 16û19). This brief essay, drawing upon the works of several key figures in the age of exploration and encounter between Europeans and Native American peoples, will argue that from "discovery" to encounter and on to permanent settlement, the combined effect of European activities in the Americas was inhuman û an example of man's inhumanity to man.

Columbus, having "discovered" and then claimed "Hispaniola" for the Spanish Crown, wrote that the "natives" were generally peaceful and represented a great resource in terms of their labor û labor that could be used at will via slaver (Bigelow and Peterson, 19). Others, such as Castillo, did not hesitate to slaughter and enslave Native American peoples. De las Casas, a priest, did "peacefully" work as a missionary in what is now Nicaragua and Guatemala, but he was something of an exception among the Spanish in that he did not denigrate the peoples he encountered, though he did believe they required conversion to Roman Catholicism and the adoption of a superior European culture (Wilgus and D'Eca, 54). On balance, however, these early interactions between Europeans (particularly the Spanish and Portuguese in the Southern Hemisphere) and Native American peoples introduced a harsh and inhumane overlord into the New World.

Thus, the initial paradigm of interaction between the "old" and "new" worlds was one in which European "discovery" was accompanied by European conquest and domination. ...

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Impact of European Discoveries in the New World. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 15:30, December 07, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1703240.html