Forgotten – the New World was not New

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The New World was not new. It was inhabited by Native Americans of different Tribal Nations. Although Native Americans are often misinterpreted to have been savages, they were not. Native Americans were successful in agriculture, and some had their own governments. The first Natives that the Spaniards encountered were the Taino, found in the chain of Islands under the Florida peninsula. The establishment of the colonies was also started in Native American land. The genocides of the Taino people and the Native Americans in the Americas are the foundation of the New World history.

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People see the genocide as a necessary evil to progress the land we live in today. The Europeans were motivated to annihilate humans seen as unworthy, such as the Natives in the Americas. The past cannot be changed but it should be acknowledged nationwide. History education should not only be told from the eyes of the founders placed as heroes, but also from the eyes of the Native Americans that were killed, stripped from their culture and land, and relocated.

In order to have a new beginning an old chapter must be closed. Native Americans in the New World lost their land and culture to the Europeans looking to settle in their land. Columbus first arrived to the Americas in 1492 and claimed the land, Hispaniola, for Spain. The first people that Columbus encountered were the Taino, the Taino accepted them “And of all the infinite universe of humanity, these people are the most guileless, the most devoid of wickedness and duplicity, the most obedient and faithful to their native masters and to the Spanish Christians whom they serve.” (Bartolome De Las Casas). Initially, Europeans were going to teach their faith to the Natives, but they had their own faith with their own God. Europeans might not have initially wanted to exterminate a whole population, but their actions show otherwise. The Native Americans were deceived by the Spaniards true intentions of their only goal, to find Gold and other riches. “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.” (Columbus). They first wanted to subjugate them, take their gold, spices, and other riches, after they had taken everything possible from the Natives, they began to kill them. The Europeans had expected to find an abundance of gold and other riches. When the Europeans realized that the Native Americans did not have what they most desired they starved, overworked, and killed the Native population.

The populations of Native Americans, in the first lands encountered, significantly dropped and almost extinguished. Various populations of Native Americans were dying in great numbers in a short time period. They died of diseases brought by the Europeans, worked to death, or simply killed. “The Indians were totally deprived of their freedom and were put into the harshest, fiercest, most horrible servitude and captivity which no one who has not seen it can understand. Even beasts enjoy more freedom when they are allowed to graze in the field.” (Bartolome de las Casas). The greed to find gold led to the downfall of the Taino people. Spaniards removed men from villages to work in gold mines and colonial plantations. “This kept the Taino from planting the crops that had fed them for centuries. They began to starve; many thousands fell prey to smallpox, measles and other European diseases for which they had no immunity; some committed suicide to avoid subjugation; hundreds fell in fighting with the Spaniards, while untold numbers fled to remote regions beyond colonial control.” (Poole). The Spaniards showed no mercy for the well being of the Taino People.

Europeans looking to settle in the New World had one goal, to expand. In 1607, England founded their first colony in Jamestown, they came to the Americas in search of expanding their land and finding wealth. By 1776, the United States’ thirteen colonies had declared their independence from Britain. The Thirteen Colonies were driven by greed and wanted to acquire more land for their cattle and agriculture. The idea of Manifest Destiny, that the US was destined by God to expand westward became popular. Manifest Destiny was used as justification for the removal of the Native Americans of their land. “As the boundaries of America grew, white settlers and proponents of expansion began to voice concerns over what they considered an obstacle to settlement and America’s economic and social development – the American Indian tribes living on lands east of the Mississippi River which bordered white settlement.” (Manifest). The concerns of white settlers started the removal of Native Americans from their land. With subjugation comes mass killings. Although Native Americans put up a good fight for their land their weapons were not as effective as the British. The Native Americans also had the disadvantage when exposed to diseases introduced by the English. Disease and starvation made an impact in the number of deaths of the Natives. Jeffrey Amherst Commander of Chief in Forces wrote a letter to Colonel Henry Bouquet, “You will do well to [infect] the Indians by means of blankets as as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this [execrable] race” (Friedberg). The reason so many Native Americans were killed by disease might not have been incidental afterall, but on purpose. The greed of the British pushed for mass murders of Natives.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830, was put in force by President Andrew Jackson. There had been continuous killings of Native Americans since the Europeans stepped foot on the Americas. The Indian Removal Act was the first law to be enacted that made it legal to kill Native Americans who resisted the relocation. “If, however, through false apprehensions, individuals, or a party, here and there, should seek to hide themselves, they must be pursued and invited to surrender, but not fired upon unless they should make a stand to resist” (Orders). Winfield Scott was the Commander of Army forces giving the order to the army on the relocations of the Native Americans. These events led up to the Trail of Tears. Native Americans were rounded up and forced to start walking to the designated land they were given. The land west to the Louisiana river was a dessert and was seen as unfit for the English. “From 1830 to 1840, the U.S. army removed 60,000 Indians—Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee and others—from the East in exchange for new territory west of the Mississippi. Thousands died along the way of what became known as the “Trail of Tears.” And as whites pushed ever westward, the Indian-designated territory continued to shrink.” (Fixico). The massive deaths of the Native American tribes was caused by the greed of the English to continue expanding. The Natives were forcibly relocated and stripped from their home.

Europeans were driven by greed and selfishness when they came to the New World. There was a series of genocides of the Native people of the land in order to start the nations we know today. The terrorism that the Native Americans experienced with the Europeans has been disguised by the romanticization of Manifest Destiny and the Quest for Christianity conversion.”

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Forgotten - The New World Was not New. (2021, Jun 17). Retrieved from