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View Diary: Christopher Columbus & His Crimes Against Humanity (102 comments)

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  •  Leif Ericson (0+ / 0-)

      Leif Ericson had no discernible impact on the Americas primarily because the Vikings didn't carry disease. Perhaps this was because they were coming from the fringes of the world and didn't themselves have that much contact with the disease pool of the Eurasian continent and Africa. Also they came at a low point in plagues when European population density was low and not a good environment for the worst diseases. Columbus came directly from the populous disease-ridden cosmopolitan ports and brought plagues which began the (worse than) decimation of Native Americans.
       Columbus would have been nearly as destructive for Native Americans had he been a peaceful merchant.

    •  I respectfully disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 04:21:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The vikings didn't carry disease? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        Since when? There's ample evidence of most of the common European diseases among the vikings, including things like small pox and tuberculosis. There were major small pox epidemics in Iceland all throughout the viking era.

        The biggest difference is that Columbus stayed. A small number of Vikings came, hung around for a season or two, and then left. The Spanish came, they stuck around, and they brought more and more people, and with more and more people come more disease. They also were in an area with a considerably higher population density than Canada. Given that there is so far scant evidence of Viking settlement outside of Newfoundland, the isolated nature of the island would certainly have helped to contain disease (not that there wasn't movement by sea to and from Newfoundland, but it certainly would have been a barrier to casual trade and movement.)

        This is a completely off the top of my head theory, but it's also worth noting that around the time of the Viking's arrival, there was a significant population shift in Newfoundland, with the Beothuk people completely displacing the Dorset culture. I think it might be within the realm of possibility that the Dorset people were weakened by disease (although I have no idea whether the archaeology supports that, honestly). The Beothuk were generally a reclusive group, whose relations to outside groups consisted mostly of either avoiding them or attacking them, and might not have had routine contact with the Dorset. (The number of Beothuk was always fairly small anyway...)

    •  Possibly with your first statement, (0+ / 0-)

      but not your last.

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 04:23:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ? 1491 (0+ / 0-)

        I am not sure how to read your two comments together. I don't mean to be apologizing for Columbus, though I doubt Leif Ericsson's pacificism, but if you accept the "high counter" school of pre-Columbian population estimates, one has to conclude that the exposure to smallpox and typhus alone was going to have a horrible impact on populations never exposed, probably greater than all those killed by Western weapons. Of course, having one's societies torn apart by invading armies does not tend to improve the resistance of a community to disease, to say the least.

        •  What the European invaders did (5+ / 0-)

          was to bring "their" world with them.

          The effort was to completely transplant the Old World to the New World. Plants, animals and culture was brought en mass to the colonies.

           Amazingly some of the colonists did stop long enough to look at the plants and oops "discovered" potatoes, pumpkins, and corn (to name a few).

           The Indigenous people had learned how to exploit their world for food -- and this enabled their populations to grow very large. It is amazing to me how many people still cling to the old history book myth that the New World was EMPTY -- a virgin land waiting for the industrious Europeans to tame it.

            One simple piece of evidence that Indians had spread out into all inhabitable (and nearly uninhabitable) ecological zones is that as the whites explored the vast regions of the New World they kept finding Indians living or gathering or hunting in the areas they were "exploring".

            This would indicate that as the Indigenous population grew it spread out.

            When the Europeans came they invaded the areas the Indians needed to survive -- and the US further blocked Indian population increases by putting the Indians on small reservations -- with NO room for Indians population increases. So while the white population was expected to increase -- and more Indian land was taken -- the Indian population was expected to DECREASE.

            Columbus found a land filled with brown people and he saw SLAVES. But the slaves had this nasty habit of dying or running away. There is also some evidence that Columbus and others who followed didn't believe that the Indians were human.

            Today we see the same attitude -- the very rich ruling class (of which Bush & gang are part of) don't see the rest of us as being part of their race. So they can use use for soldiers, for workers etc. But there are so darn many of us that when a few of us die off due to poor health care, or bad nutrition etc -- well so what-- there are more of us out there to work in their mines, offices, etc.

            History repeats itself -- it just changes the names of the underclasses.

          •  There's evidence (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Yellow Canary, Reel Woman

            that Indians were regarded as subhuman and unable to give evidence in court until the case of the stolen whales in 1880.

            http://www.a1wdb.com/...

            http://books.google.com/...

            As Dorothy Eber reports in her entertaining book based on Inuit oral history, "When the Whalers Went Up North", Chapter 4, The case of the missing whales.

            The above link is a preview of the book of Chapter 4.

            The case is also reported in the Spicer Genealogy

            The case pitted Captain John O. Spicer of New London against a Massachussets whaler who had stolen 3 of Spicer's whales.  Johnnibo, a Canadian Inuit, who was Spicer's lead man, witnessed the crime.  The whale thief's attorney main argument was that Johnnibo could not give evidence because Native Americans were like dogs.  Spicer's answer to this was still remembered by the Inuit.  He said that the Inuit were not dogs, but those who stole were dogs and worse than dogs.

            Spicer won his case, establishing that Native Americans were person capable of giving credible testimony in a court of law.

            •  That took my breath away. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Reel Woman, One Opinion

              I'm just shaking my head.

              She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

              by Winter Rabbit on Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 06:09:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Authors of the Spicer Genealogy were (0+ / 0-)

                Meech&Meech.  I have a copy.  

                Meech, Mrs. Susan and Meech, Miss Susan Billings, History of Descendants of
                Peter Spicer. Boston Stanhope Press 1911

                I first heard the whole story from my grandfather.  Later Dorothy Eber called me up.  She had called my brother John M Spicer, looking for the Spicer family's version of the story.  John thought I would probably know the story because I was the family member most interested in history, so he gave Dorothy my name.  Ten years later, the book appeared, and I finally got to read the Inuit version of the case.

                The most breath- taking thing was that the Inuit version and the Spicer version, both oral history of events one hundred years old, matched almost exactly, including the final horror of the death of Johnnibo at the hands of other Inuits because they felt he was a witch and "knew too much".

                Since then, I am a firm believer in the relative accuracy of oral history.

                I may write the whole thing up as a diary some day.

                •  I so think you should! (0+ / 0-)

                  To help educate and to bring the point you just said, about the relative accuracy of oral history. I've gotten specific examples, for example of oral history of the infected balnkets, just go the my page and go in the comments. It's invaluable that it be added. Thankyou.

                  She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

                  by Winter Rabbit on Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 09:39:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  "Savages" (0+ / 0-)

              After reading your post earlier this morning, I tried to find a book I have somewhere in this house (failed miserably **sigh**). It's a schoolbook, nearly 120 years old, that I purchased earlier this year. Obviously I can't quote it verbatim at the moment, but I distinctly recall the term "savages" used for American Indians, and (now paraphrasing) that if they'd just accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, the world would be a much better place blah blah blah. Disturbing, to say the least.

              •  Thanks for the info.! (0+ / 0-)

                Would you consider just posting the title, publisher, etc.? There it is, thankyou.

                She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

                by Winter Rabbit on Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 09:54:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Absolutely...if I can find the dang book. (0+ / 0-)

                  **bangs head on wall**

                  I really need to reorganize my library. But yeah, I'll reply to this with the info when I get my hands on it. =o)

                  •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

                    She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

                    by Winter Rabbit on Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 10:44:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Aha! Found it! (0+ / 0-)

                      A Brief History of the United States

                      It's part of the "Barnes' Historical Series", put out by A.S. Barnes & Company, New York and Chicago. Copyright 1871, 1879, 1880, 1885 (my edition).

                      Have only looked briefly and can't find the exact "savage" quote(s) just yet (figures! hrmph). Nonetheless, check this out - under the "Indian Characteristics" section:

                      Progress and Education. - He made no advancement, but each son emulated the prowess of his father in the hunt and the fight. **snip** He knew nothing of books, paper, writing, or history.

                      I guess oral history counts for nada. But hey, they could kick ass! **eyeroll**

                      Domestic life. - The Indian had neither cow, nor beast of burden. He regarded all labor as degrading, and fit only for women. **snip** The leavings of her lord's feast sufficed for her, and the coldest place in the wigwam was her seat.

                      Buncha misogynist heathens! </snark>

                      Disposition. - In war, the Indian was brave and alert, but cruel and revengeful, preferring treachery and cunning to open battle. At home, he was lazy, improvident, and an inveterate gambler. He delights in finery and trinkets, and decked his unclean person with paint and feathers. **snip**

                      The Original DFH's. **'nother eyeroll**

                      Religion. - If he had any ideas of a Supreme Being, they were vague and degraded. His dream of a Heaven was of happy hunting-grounds or of gay feasts, where his dog should join in the dance. **snip** He placed great stress on dreams, and his camp swarmed with sorcerers and fortune-tellers.

                      What, no Voodoo Queens? Sheesh. (I don't think my eyes can roll further back without immediate medical treatment.)

                      The Indian of the Present. - Such was the Indian two hundred years ago, and such he is to-day. He opposes the encroachments of the settler, and the building of railroads. But he can not stop the tide of immigration. Unless he can be induced to give up his roving habits and cultivate the soil, he is doomed to destruction. It is to be earnestly hoped that the red man may yet be Christianized, and taught the arts of industry and peace.

                      "Re-education Camps 'R' Us".  **spit**

          •  You forget the plague. (0+ / 0-)

            by 1540 or so, 95% of the native population was gone, there was no way that the Europeans could have predicted that, so in fact the new world WAS empty by then.

            •  No, (0+ / 0-)

              you're referring to the Black Plague, or known as the Black Death, which was in the 1300's. That affected Europe, see first paragraph about the Jews being blamed for it. Columbus was about a century and a half later.

              The fact that Europeans brought the deadly diseases with them, through ship rats who found their way to the indigenous tribes for example, is well established.

              Historical Viewpoints. "American Indians And European Diseases." Alfred W. Crosby pp. 48-49

              Whether plague or typhus, the disease went through the Indians like fire. Almost all the seventeenth-century writers say it killed nine of ten and even nineteen of twenty of the Indians it touched -

              In short, one does not necessarily have to accept a 90 percent death rate for a given village or area to accept a 90 percent depopulation rate.

              I think it's more like 95%, but the information there is valuable.

              She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

              by Winter Rabbit on Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 10:54:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I wasn't referring to Black plague. (0+ / 0-)

                I was referring to ->A<- plague, which is any mostly fatal epidemic.</p>

                If we agree on the 95% figure, why argue about it?

                The point is: The Spanish didn't want what happened to happen. Genocide is a deliberate act. Natives were mistreated, sure, but almost all of those who died never met a White Man.

                It was a plague, not a genocide. The Europeans didn't know of the existance of two continents blocking the westward route to China and Western medicine hadn't progressed much since the death of Galen in the 2nd Century CE.

        •  What Carib and Ting said. (5+ / 0-)

          And:

          A People & A Nation. 4th Edition. p.38

          In the pursuit of their conversions, the Jesuits sought to undermine the authority of the villiage shamans (the traditional religious leaders) and to gain the confidence of leaders who could influence others. The Black Robes used a variety of weapons to attain the desired end. Trained in rhetoric, they won admirers by their eloquence. Seemingly immune to smallpox, they explained epidemics among the Native Americans as God's punishment for sin, their arguments aided by the ineffectiveness of the shaman's traditional remedies for illness against that deadly disease.

          Here's the point your referring to:

          Historical Viewpoints. "American Indians And European Diseases." Alfred W. Crosby pp. 48-49


          Whether plague or typhus, the disease went through the Indians like fire. Almost all the seventeenth-century writers say it killed nine of ten and even nineteen of twenty of the Indians it touched -

          In short, one does not necessarily have to accept a 90 percent death rate for a given village or area to accept a 90 percent depopulation rate.

          But that's not all of it:



          Bioterrorist Threats: Potential Agents and Theoretical Preparedness

          Dr. John Bartlett filled in for Peter Jahrling of USAMRIID for a segment devoted to one of the likely potential bioterrorist agents, smallpox.[2] The use of this agent to intentionally cause human disease dates back to 1754 during the French and Indian War, when infected blankets were given to Native Americans as a "token of good fortune."

          American Indian Prophecies. Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. pp. 66-67

          In 1779, George Washington sent orders to General John Sullivan concerning the need to attack and destroy the Iroquois Nations.

          "The immediate objects are total destruction of their settlements, and capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex possible -"

          Washington was also an advocate of germ warfare, first introduced by Sir Jeffery Amherst after whom the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, and Amherst College are named. The idea of germ warfare with smallpox was suggested to Colonel Henry Bouquet, after which Colonel Bouquet wrote back:

          "I will try to inoculate the [Indians] with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to expose good men against then, I wish we could make use of the Spanish method, to hunt them with English dogs, supported by rangers and some light horse, who would, I think, effectually extirpate or remove the vermin."

          About 60 years later, Andrew Jackson took Colonel Bouquet's advice in his war against the Seminoles. 

          Cont.

          She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

          by Winter Rabbit on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 09:46:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Cont. (4+ / 0-)

          I don't think you were apologizing for Columbus, BTW

          Source

          "Viking" was a verb used to describe a temporary lifestyle. Most Norsemen would stay in their villages for all their lifes, but some young and adventurous farmers would go "viking" or raiding for some months or for some years to earn their living on piracy.

          Therefore, all Vikings were Norse, but not all Norsemen were Vikings.

          Christian documents of the time depict the Vikings as bloodthirsty sauvages who would destroy and pillage everything they could. This is true, but viking pirates were not particularly more cruel than any European army of that age.

          The Vikings were the international tradesmen of their time. They traded silk and spices from Constantinople, amber from the Baltic, iron from Scandinavia, slaves from Russia and furs and walrus ivory from Iceland and Greenland. The Vikings kept open the trade route between East and West Europe at a time when trade routes through the Mediterranean were unsafe.

          Now reconsider the statement "the sole early ones involved the Norse who occupied Greenland in very small numbers between A.D. 986 and about 1500. But these Norse visits had no discernible impact on Native American societies (2)."

          The Norse creation story, is very similiar to the Lakota story of Creation.

          Think about, wouldn't two cultures that had the most similiar stories of creation naturally get alond more so than ones that don't, especially if one had the demonization of other human beings in the same chapter as their creation story?

          Both the Creation stories I cited lead to a philosophy of connectness. The Christain story leads to separateness with Adam & Eve being thrown out of the garden. The Norse and the American Indians creation stories boil down to God IS the garden, but Christianity says that Satan is in the garden, and since the American Indians were where Satan was, they became Satanic when they didn't accept Christ.

          She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

          by Winter Rabbit on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 10:12:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

      They had plenty of disease. But they had different purposes. They weren't companies solely in search of profits. They did spread their genes all over the old and new world, and murdered rampantly. They simply stayed for a briefer period, and didn't bring their pigs and chickens with them.

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