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Summary | 62 Annotations
Chapter 1: Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress
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Columbus
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later wrote of this in his log:
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They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them
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They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
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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.
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In return for bringing back gold and spices, they promised Columbus 10 percent of the profits, governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with a new title: Admiral of the Ocean Sea
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October 1492
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approaching land, they were met by the Arawak Indians, who swam out to greet them
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it led Columbus to take some of them aboard ship as prisoners because he insisted that they guide him to the source of the gold.
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Santa Maria,
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Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas) and left thirty-nine crewmembers there, with instructions to find and store the gold.
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Nina
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Pinta
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When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners began to die
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When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone....
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slaves and gold
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1495
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In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead.
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1515
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there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left.
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1650
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A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.
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1650
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Women in Indian society were treated so well as to startle the Spaniards.
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Bartolome de las Casas,
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Las Casas
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Book Two of his History of the Indies
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our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then....
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Las Casas tells how "two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys."
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Total control led to total cruelty.
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they suffered and died in the mines and other labors in desperate silence, knowing not a soul in the world to whom they could turn for help."
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1508
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1494 to 1508,
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1954
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When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventure-there is no bloodshed-and Columbus Day is a celebration.
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The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide."
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One can lie outright about the past. Or one can omit facts which might lead to unacceptable conclusions. Morison does neither. He refuses to lie about Columbus. He does not omit the story of mass murder; indeed he describes it with the harshest word one can use: genocide.
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The historian's distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual.
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This is not intentional deception
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To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide
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It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done.
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This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly.
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it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation-a world not restored but disintegrated.
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Henry Kissinger
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peace" that Europe had before the French Revolution was "restored" by the diplomacy of a few national leaders.
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Nations are not communities and never have been
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My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners
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the lines are not always clear
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The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don't listen to it, you will never know what justice is."
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Hernando Cortes
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Karl Marx
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1585
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1610
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Not able to enslave the Indians, and not able to live with them, the English decided to exterminate them
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1607
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John Smith
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1636.
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Battle, as such, was not his purpose. Battle is only one of the ways to destroy an enemy's will to fight. Massacre can accomplish the same end with less risk, and Mason had determined that massacre would be his objective."
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It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day."
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1972
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The official figure on the number of Pequots now in Connecticut is twenty-one persons."
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