Essay on The Colonization Of The Native Americans

1698 Words Sep 1st, 2015 7 Pages
Before Christopher Columbus, the Native Americans as a whole lived in a variety of cultures and cannot be simply grouped into one larger society. This division and diversity allowed for rich art and histories but also facilitated European conquest. The Native Americans can be divided into two large groups, those of North America, and those of South & Central America, to be analysed separately. Within Central and South America, there were two main populations. The Mayans ruled much of the Yucatan Peninsula from 300 to 800 AD (I realise this is prior to 1491, but for the sake of context). Centuries later, the Aztecs assumed power in the same area, only to be conquered upon Spanish arrival. Concurrently, the Incans ruled in Peru and South America. The three major societies reached profound and respectable levels of science and culture: they had developed languages, complex governments, astronomy and even social welfare. These societies could achieve this state by cultivating a staple crop that fueled their population. If a society could farm a crop to generate a surplus, the free time could be used for innovation, art or conquest. Therefore, when the Mayans and Aztecs successfully cultivated corn and the Incans cultivated potatoes, their peoples could advance society, leading to the now famous wealth and advancement enjoyed there. These peoples were most definitely not the stereotypical and racist savages portrayed throughout history and in the minds of many colonists, and…

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