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Comments on Columbus and more… [ Friday, 12 Oct 18 | 09:34 ]
[My Location |El Masnou]
[My Mood |sadsad]

Today is the the traditional day celebrated when Columbus made landfall in the Americas on 12 October, 1492. He was widely venerated in the centuries after his death, but public perceptions have changed as recent scholars have given attention to negative aspects of his life.
When I was growing up in California 60+ years ago, Columbus was celebrated along with the California missionaries. Much of that has changed. Columbus is now derided for his treatment of indigenous peoples as are the missionaries.

To provide some more history, very few people know of Bartolomé de las Casas (1484 – 1566) who spent 50 years of his life actively fighting slavery and the colonial abuse of indigenous peoples. His efforts resulted in several improvements in the legal status of the natives, and in an increased colonial focus on the ethics of colonialism. Las Casas is often considered to be one of the first advocates for a universal conception of human dignity (later human rights).

And speaking of California, not many know about the California Genocide, which refers to the violence, relocation, and starvation that led to a decrease in the indigenous population of California as a result of the US occupation of California. The indigenous population of California under Spanish rule dropped from 300,000 prior to 1769, to 250,000 in 1834. After Mexico won its independence from Spain, the indigenous population suffered a much more drastic decrease in population to 150,000. The period immediately following the US Conquest of California has been characterized by numerous sources as a genocide. Under US sovereignty, after 1848, the Indigenous population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000 in 1870 and reached its nadir of 16,000 in 1900.

[User Picture]From: maxauburn
Friday, 12 Oct 18 | 13:10 (UTC)
I don't like Columbus.. He bought disease to the "New World", which
was already populated.. and the natives he took back with him
ended up as slaves.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Friday, 12 Oct 18 | 13:31 (UTC)

And then there is this…

Syphilis is thought to have originated in the New World and small pox was very deadly with indigenous peoples.

Syphilis was definitely present in the Americas before European contact, and it may have been carried from the Americas to Europe by the returning crewmen from Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas; or it may have existed in Europe previously, but went unrecognized until shortly after Columbus returned. These are the Columbian and pre-Columbian hypotheses, respectively, with the Columbian hypothesis best supported by available evidence.

There are no credible descriptions of smallpox-like disease in the Americas before the westward exploration by Europeans in the 15th century AD. Smallpox was introduced into the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in 1509, and into the mainland in 1520, when Spanish settlers from Hispaniola arrived in Mexico bringing smallpox with them. Smallpox devastated the native Amerindian population and was an important factor in the conquest of the Aztecs and the Incas by the Spaniards. Settlement of the east coast of North America in 1633 in Plymouth, Massachusetts was also accompanied by devastating outbreaks of smallpox among Native American populations, and subsequently among the native-born colonists. Case fatality rates during outbreaks in Native American populations were as high as 80–90%.

The British used smallpox as a biological warfare agent at the Siege of Fort Pitt during the French and Indian Wars against France and its Native American allies. The actual use of smallpox had official sanction. British officers, including the top British commanding generals, ordered, sanctioned, paid for and conducted the use of smallpox against the Native Americans. As described by historians, "there is no doubt that British military authorities approved of attempts to spread smallpox among the enemy", and "it was deliberate British policy to infect the Indians with smallpox"] On 24 June 1763, William Trent, a local trader and commander of the Fort Pitt militia, wrote, "Out of our regard for them, we gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect." There are also accounts that smallpox was used as a weapon during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).

Good thing you are not British.

Because I lived in California for 55 years the following is important to me:

Benjamin Madley, associate professor of history at UCLA, has been on a decade-long odyssey to document and reveal the existence of this government-sponsored genocide.

This largely forgotten history of state-sanctioned mass murder and heroic resilience is revealed in Madley’s book “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846–1873.” The book meticulously narrates the systematic and brutal campaigns of slaughter and enslavement during which California’s indigenous population plunged from as many as 150,000 people to around 30,000.

“Murders and massacres filled the archives,” he said. “Official records made it plain that the state and federal governments spent more than $1,700,000 — a huge amount of money at that time — on campaigns against California Indians.”

California became a state in 1850, and many of the leaders involved in the genocide against the California Indian population were rewarded for their efforts with powerful positions in state and federal government.

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[User Picture]From: maxauburn
Friday, 12 Oct 18 | 17:32 (UTC)

Re: And then there is this…

Sadly enough, none of that surprises me. :(
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