The New World: A Clash Of Cultures

1820 words - 7 pages

The New World: A Clash of Cultures.
It all started with the Scandinavians who discovered native peoples in North America around A.D. 1000. Short lived as their stay was, this would be the beginning of a very violent and dangerous path for the Native American people. Spain, France, and England would follow the Vikings lead nearly 500 years later and the clash of cultures began. America was appealing to these European nations because of the desire to expand their countries power, the natural resources this "new world" offered and for some, religious freedom. The Europeans brought with them livestock, plant life, disease, and often times an attitude of superiority to these "primitive" native peoples. All of the aforementioned would forever change the native peoples lives as well as their culture. This short assessment of the invasion of America by the Europeans will examine what these countries wanted from the Indians, how the different countries used the Indians to oppose other countries, and the tactics used to accomplish their goals.
In 1492, Spain's monarchy had liberated itself from Muslim reign and was eager to expand the kingdom. They employed Christopher Columbus and he went in search of new territory for the expansion of the kingdom. He set out for a second voyage in 1493; however, this voyage was different because he had plans of making claims of the land he "discovered" on his first journey (Calloway, 2012, p. 82). He brought many different species of animals and plant life as well as disease along with him. He had plans of making this land more like home, and these plans included civilizing the native peoples into the Spanish way of life.
Columbus described the Indians as simple, gentle, honest, generous, and good-looking people (Calloway, 2012, p. 79). This ideal of a simplistic people also gave Columbus the opinion that the Indians would make great servants and would be easily proselytized into Christianity.
Once the Spanish explorers and Columbus began to experience some resistance from the Indians, they painted a revised picture of them as "treacherous, dirty, and cannibalistic savages" they were now confronting (Calloway, 2012, p. 81). This was the depiction the Europeans had of the Indians. The Indian culture was considered incongruent with the European way of life. Columbus and other Spaniards looked upon the native peoples as uncivilized and were determined to make it their mission to completely revise this very diverse culture, to dominate every aspect of the Indians way of life. These "savages" were uncivilized because they did not live as the Europeans lived. They did not have "proper" clothing, lived in temporary housing, spoke many languages, possessed no modern tools, no political structure in place, and did not worship the same God that the Europeans did. They had plans of conquering the land, the natural resources and improving those that inhabited the land transforming the new world into the Europeans view of a...

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