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The Black Legend Essay

1107 words - 4 pages

The Black Legend is merely a false statement that people have used for centuries to depict Europeans as wild uncivilized animals. The legend states that the Spanish merely slaughtered infected and enslaved the Native Americans whom they encountered in the New World in the 16th century (Answers.com). This Legend is held into question since although the Spanish did treat the natives crudely they also adapted parts of the Native American culture into their own and intermarried with the Native women creating a new Mestizo race. The main supporters of this belief were the French and the English who perpetuated this only to make their competitors in overseas colonies seem like monsters (Maltby, William). However ironically the Spanish did more to help the Indians than the French or English ever did. The Black Legend is a term promoted by the English and French to criticize the Spanish cruelty to the natives, it is false because the Spanish helped the gradual development of uniquely American culture, transformed religion in the new world, instituted education, and created a new society of people.Slowly and gradually a new and distinct culture emerged, a mix of the Native and European traditions combined into one. New holidays such as Thanksgiving Day developed. The Natives Americans did use horses to their advantage, contributed by the Spanish to produce more efficient hunting methods, and the new crops provided a richer diet therefore more food could be obtained increasing the live expectancy of the Natives (library.upenn.edu). The Indians also contributed many things to the European culture. Crops such as corn, squash, potato, beans and exotic fruits which helped the Europeans survive in the New World through numerous winters (library.upenn.edu). To survive in the newly discovered Americas it was necessary for them to adapt some of the Indian ways just as the Indian tribes came to be quite fond of the European products and culture. Many traces of Spanish influence can be seen today in our architecture and diet. Eventually the Spanish and Indian ways of life fused into a new and unique culture.One of Spain's primary endeavors of colonial expansion was to bring Christianity to native peoples. Kings such as Philip II dedicated large resources to sending missionaries and building churches in America and the Philippines (Gibson, Charles). The Black Legend is said to ignore this fact, as well as to depict the conversion of native peoples under Spanish rule in a brutal and violent manner. Such exaggerations are contrasted by Spanish policies, such as Queen Isabella I's Last Will that solemnly ordered that American natives be treated with respect and dignity (Gibson, Charles). The inquisition was not an institution of persecution or torture as the Black Legend intentionally portrays. The movement of Christianity established a religious institution that monitored Christian principles and teachings within the Catholic Church, and was supervised by the Spanish...

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