The Effects Of Spanish Contact With The Native Peoples Of The Americas

1811 Words Oct 4th, 2016 8 Pages
“We can estimate very surely and truthfully that in the forty years that have passed, with the infernal actions of the Christians, there have been unjustly slain more than twelve million men, women, and children. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like fifteen million.”
The foregoing quote was written by Bartolome de Las Casas, in his Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (1552). Las Casas’ reveals the negative effects of Spanish contact with the Native peoples of the Americas. He emphasizes some of the key results of European exploration and colonization—namely destruction and death. The arrival of the Europeans to the Americas marked the beginning of the end for the native civilizations. For the Europeans, the encounter with the Americas provided them with the opportunity to expand their empire and obtain gold, glory, and god; however, the Natives faced an invasive European power-monger in what can be called one of the largest, most catastrophic demographic collapses in world history. From the late fifteenth to seventeenth century, Spanish conquest of native cities, introduction of Old World diseases to the Indians, and exploitation of Indian labor led to a massive depopulation crisis in the Americas, which in turn, prompted a major long-term consequence: the expansion of the transatlantic slave trade in the Americas.
The scale of demographic calamity can be attributed to the introduction and transferring…

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