A remarkable Marxist geographer, James Blaut, in his pioneering study, The Colonizing Model of the World, paints a broad picture of early capitalist production in colonial South America and shows its key importance for the development of European capitalism. It is necessary to summarize his conclusions in brief.
Thanks to the conquest of America, by the 1640, the Europeans received from there at least 180 tons of gold and 17 thousand tons of silver. This is the official data. In fact, these figures can be easily multiplied by two, taking into account poor customs records and the widespread development of smuggling. The huge influx of precious metals led to a sharp expansion of the sphere of monetary circulation necessary for the formation of capitalism. But, more importantly, the gold and silver that fell on them allowed European entrepreneurs to pay higher prices for goods and labor and thereby seize the dominant heights in international trade and production, pushing aside their competitors - groups of non-European proto-bourgeoisie, especially in the Mediterranean region. Leaving aside the role of genocide in the extraction of precious metals, as well as other forms of capitalist economy in Colombian America, it is necessary to note Blaut’s important argument that the process of extraction of these metals and the economic activity necessary to ensure it were profitable.
In 15-16 vv. Commercial and feudal sugar production was developed throughout the Mediterranean, as well as in West and East Africa, although honey was still preferred in Northern Europe due to its lower cost. Even then, the sugar industry was an important part of the proto-capitalist sector in the Mediterranean economy. Then, throughout the 16 century, the process of the rapid development of sugar plantations in America, which replaces and displaces sugar production in the Mediterranean, has been going on. Thus, using the two traditional benefits of colonialism - "free" land and cheap labor - the European proto-capitalists eliminate their competitors with their feudal and semi-feudal production. No other kind of industry, concludes Blaut, was as important for the development of capitalism until the 19 century as sugar plantations in Colombian America. And the data he gives are really amazing.
So in 1600, Brazil exported 30 000 tons of sugar with a sale price of £ 1 million in 2 from Brazil. This is about twice as much as the value of all British exports for that year. Recall that it was Britain and its commodity wool production that Eurocentric historians (i.e. 99% of all historians) consider the main engine of capitalist development in the 17 century. In the same year, per capita income in Brazil (with the exception of the Indians, of course) was higher than in Britain, which caught up with Brazil only later. By the end of the 16 century, the rate of capitalist accumulation on Brazilian plantations was so high that it could double production every 2 of the year. At the beginning of the 17 century, the Dutch capitalists, who controlled a large part of the sugar business in Brazil, made calculations that showed the annual rate of return in this industry was 56%, and in monetary terms, almost 1 million pounds (a fantastic amount for that time). Moreover, this profit was even higher at the end of the 16 century, when the cost of production, including the purchase of slaves, was only one-fifth of the income from the sale of sugar.
Sugar plantations in America were central to the rise of the early capitalist economy in Europe. But besides sugar, there was also tobacco, there were spices, dyes, there was a huge fishing industry in Newfoundland and other places on the East Coast of North America. All this was also part of the capitalist development of Europe. Exclusively profitable was the slave trade. According to Blaut's estimates, by the end of the 16 century, up to 1 a million people worked in the colonial economy of the Western Hemisphere, about half of whom were engaged in capitalist production. In 1570, the huge mining town of Potosi in the Andes had a population of thousands of people in 120, more than at that time lived in such European cities as Paris, Rome or Madrid.
Finally, about fifty new types of agricultural plants cultivated by the agrarian genius of the “New World” nations, such as potatoes, corn, tomatoes, a number of sorts of pepper, chocolate cocoa, a number of legumes, peanuts, sunflower, etc., fell into the hands of Europeans. - potatoes and corn became cheap substitutes for bread for the European masses, saving millions from devastating crop yields, allowing Europe to double food production in fifty years from 1492, and thus provide one of the main conditions Creating a market of hired labor for capitalist production.
So, thanks to the works of Blaut and a number of other radical historians, the key role of early European colonialism in the development of capitalism and its "centering" (centratedness - J. Blout's neologism - AB) begins to emerge in Europe, and not in other regions of the world protocapitalist development. . Vast territories, cheap slave labor of enslaved peoples, the robbery of the natural wealth of the Americas gave the European proto-bourgeoisie a decisive superiority over its competitors in the 16-17 international economic system of the centuries, allowed it to rapidly accelerate the existing tendencies of capitalist production and accumulation and thus initiate the process of social political transformation of feudal Europe into a bourgeois society. As the famous Caribbean Marxist historian S.R.L. James, "the slave trade and slavery became the economic base of the Great French Revolution ... Almost all industries that developed in France in the 18 century were based on the production of goods for the coast of Guinea or for America." (James, 47-48).
At the heart of this momentous turn of the world stories lay the genocide of the peoples of the Western Hemisphere. This genocide was not only the first in the history of capitalism, it is not only at its source, it is both the largest in terms of the number of victims and the longest extermination of peoples and ethnic groups, which continues to this day.
"I became death, the destroyer of worlds."
Robert Oppenheimer remembered these lines at the sight of the first atomic explosion. With far greater right, the ominous words of an ancient Sanskrit poem could be recalled by people who were aboard the ships Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, when 450 years before the explosion, they noticed the same dark early morning fire on the lee side of the island Savior - San Salvador.
26 days after the test of a nuclear device in the New Mexico desert, a bomb dropped on Hiroshima destroyed at least 130 thousands of people, almost all of them civilians. Total for 21 year after the landing of Columbus on the islands of the Caribbean, the largest of them, renamed Admiral to Ispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), lost almost all of its indigenous population - about 8 of millions of people killed and killed by disease, hunger, slave labor and despair. The devastating power of this Spanish "nuclear bomb" on Hispaniola was equivalent to more than 50 atomic bombs like Hiroshima. And that was just the beginning.
Thus, comparing the first and "most monstrous in size and consequences of genocide in world history" with the practice of genocides in the 20 century, the historian from the University of Hawaii, David Stanard, begins his book "American Holocaust" (in my historical perspective) view, the special importance of his work, as well as the value of Ward Churchill’s book The Minority of the Problem of Genocide (1992) and several other studies of recent years that followed. In these works, the destruction of the indigenous population of the Americas by Europeans and Latinos appears not only as the most massive and long-lasting (right up to today) genocide in world history, but also as an organic part of Euro-American civilization from the late Middle Ages to the western imperialism of our days.
Stanard begins his book by describing the amazing wealth and diversity of human life in both Americas before the fateful voyage of Columbus. He then guides the reader along the historical and geographical route of genocide: from exterminating the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribs, Mexico, Central and South America to turning north and exterminating the Indians in Florida, Virginia and New England and finally through the Great Prairies and Southwest to California and on the Pacific coast of the Northwest. The following part of my article is based primarily on Stanard’s book, while the second part, the genocide in North America, uses Churchill’s work.
Who was the victim of the most massive genocide in world history?
Human society, destroyed by the Europeans in the Caribbean, was in all respects superior to their own, if we take the measure of development to be closer to the ideal of a communist society. It would be more accurate to say that, thanks to a rare combination of natural conditions, Tainos (or Arawak) lived in a communist society. Not in the way the European Marx imagined him, but nevertheless communist. The inhabitants of Big Antilles have reached a high level in regulating their relations with the natural world. They learned to receive from nature everything they needed, not depleting, but cultivating and transforming it. They had huge aqua farms, in each of which they raised up to a thousand large sea turtles (100 equivalent to cattle heads). They literally “collected” small fish in the sea, using vegetable substances that paralyzed it. Their agriculture exceeded the European level and was based on a three-level planting system, which uses combinations of different types of plants to create a favorable soil-climatic regime. Their dwellings, spacious, clean and bright, would be the envy of the European masses.
American geographer Carl Sauer comes to this conclusion:
"The tropical idyll that we find in the descriptions of Columbus and Peter Martira, basically corresponded to reality." About Tainos (Arawak): “These people felt no need for anything. They cared for their plants, were skilled fishermen, canoeists and swimmers. They built attractive dwellings and kept them clean. They aesthetically expressed themselves in the tree. They had free time to play ball games, dance and music. They lived in peace and friendship. " (Stanard, 51).
But Columbus, this typical European 15-16 of centuries, had a different idea of "good society". 12 October 1492, on the day of "Contact", he wrote in his diary:
"These people go, what their mother gave birth to, but good-natured ... they can be made free and turned into our Holy Faith. They will turn out good and skillful servants" (my discharge is AB).
On that day, representatives of two continents met for the first time on an island that the locals called Guanahani. Early in the morning, under a high pine tree on the sandy shore, a crowd of curious mysteries gathered. They watched as a strange boat with a hull similar to a fish skeleton and bearded strangers in it swam to the shore and buried in the sand. Bearded men came out of it and pulled it higher, away from the foam of the surf. Now they were facing each other. The newcomers were dark-skinned and dark-haired, shaggy heads, overgrown beards, many people had dug smallpox - one of the 60-70 fatal diseases that they carry in the Western Hemisphere. There was a heavy smell from them. In Europe, 15 century did not wash. At temperatures in 30-35 degrees Celsius, the aliens were dressed from head to foot, with metal armor hanging over their clothes. In their hands they held long thin knives, daggers and sticks glittering in the sun.
In the logbook, Columbus often notes the striking beauty of the islands and their inhabitants - friendly, happy, peaceful. And two days after the first contact, an ominous note appears in the magazine: "50 soldiers are enough to subdue them all and make them do everything we want." "The locals allow us to go where we want and give us everything we ask of them." Most of all, Europeans were amazed at the generosity of this people, incomprehensible to them. And this is not surprising. Columbus and his comrades sailed to these islands from this hell, as Europe was at that time. They were the real fiends (and, to a large extent, garbage) of the European hell, over which the bloody dawn of the initial capitalist accumulation rose. We must briefly tell about this place.
Hell called "Europe"
In hell, Europe was in a fierce class war, frequent smallpox epidemics, cholera and plague devastated cities, and even more often the population was mowed down by death from starvation. But in the prosperous years, according to the 16 century historian of Spain, "the rich ate and ate to satiety, while thousands of hungry eyes eagerly looked at their gargantuan dinners." The existence of the masses was so unsecured that even in the 17 century, every "average" increase in wheat or millet prices in France killed an equal or two times more percent of the population than the losses of the United States in the Civil War. Centuries after the journey of Columbus, the city ditches of Europe still served as public restrooms, the entrails of dead animals and the remains of carcasses were thrown away on the streets. A particular problem in London was the so-called. "holes for the poor" - "large, deep, open pits, where the corpses of the dead poor folded, in a row, layer upon layer. Only when the pit was filled to the brim, was it covered with earth." One contemporary wrote: "How disgusting is the stench that comes from these pits, clogged with corpses, especially in the heat and after the rain." A little better was the smell emanating from living Europeans, most of whom were born and died never washed out. Almost each of them had traces of smallpox and other deforming diseases, which left their victims half blind, covered with pock marks, scabs, rotting chronic ulcers, lame, etc. Life expectancy did not reach 30 years. Half of the children died before reaching 10.
Behind every corner you could be trapped by a criminal. One of the most popular methods of robbery was to drop a stone from the window on the head of its victim and then search it, and one of the festive entertainments is to burn alive a dozen or so cats. In the hungry years of the city of Europe riots were shaken. And the largest class war of that era, or rather, a series of wars under the general name Peasant, claimed more than 100 000 lives. The fate of the rural population was not the best. The classical description of the French peasants of the 12th century, left by Labriere and confirmed by modern historians, sums up the existence of this most numerous class of feudal Europe:
"gloomy animals, males and females scattered around the countryside, dirty and deadly pale, sun-drenched, chained to the ground, which they dig and shovel with unconquerable tenacity, they have a kind of gift of speech, and when straightened, they can be seen human faces, and they are really people. "At night they return to their den, where they live on black bread, water and roots."
And what Laurence Stone wrote about a typical English village can be attributed to the rest of Europe at that time:
"It was a place full of hatred and anger, the only thing that connected its inhabitants, are episodes of mass hysteria, which for a time united the majority in order to torment and burn the local witch." In England and on the Continent there were cities in which up to a third of the population was accused of witchcraft, and where 10 out of every hundred townspeople were executed on this charge for one year only. At the end of 16 - 17 century in one of the areas of peaceful Switzerland for "Satanism" was executed more than 3300 people. In the tiny village of Wizenstag, in one year, 63 "witches" were burned. In Obermarchtal with a population of 700 people at the stake, 54 man died in three years.
Poverty was so central to European society that in the 11th century French had a whole palette of words (about 17) to indicate all its gradations and shades. The dictionary of the Academy explained the meaning of the term dans un etat d'indigence absolue: "one who did not have food or a necessary clothing or a roof over his head, but who has now bid farewell to a few crumpled cooking bowls and blankets that constituted the main asset working families ".
Slavery flourished in Christian Europe. The Church welcomed and encouraged him, she was the biggest slave; about the importance of her policy in this field for understanding the genocide in America, I will say at the end of the essay. In 14-15 centuries most slaves came from Eastern Europe, especially Romania (history repeats in our time). Little girls were especially appreciated. From a letter of a slave buyer interested in this product: "When ships arrive from Romania, there must be girls, but keep in mind that small slaves are as expensive as adults, from those who represent anything of any value no one costs less than 50-60 florins. " Historian John Boswell notes that "from 10 to 20 percent of women sold in Seville in the 12th century were pregnant or had babies, and these unborn babies and infants usually got the buyer along with the woman at no additional cost."
The rich had their own problems. They craved gold and silver to satisfy their habits of exotic goods, habits acquired since the time of the first crusades; the first colonial expeditions of Europeans. Silk, spices, fine cotton, drugs and medicines, perfumes and jewelry required a lot of money. So gold became for Europeans, according to one Venetian, "the veins of the whole state life ... her mind and soul ... her essence and her very life." But the supply of precious metals from Africa and the Middle East was unreliable. In addition, the wars in Eastern Europe devastated the European coffers. It was necessary to find a new, reliable and preferably cheaper source of gold.
What to add to this? As can be seen from the above, gross violence was the norm of European life. But at times it took a particularly pathological character and, as it were, foreshadowed what was expected of the unsuspecting inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere. In addition to the daily witch and bonfire scenes, at 1476 in Milan, the crowd tore a man to pieces, and then his tormentors ate them. In Paris and Lyon the Huguenots were killed and cut into pieces, which were then sold openly on the streets. Other flash of sophisticated torture, murder and ritual cannibalism were not unusual.
Finally, at a time when Columbus was looking for money in Europe for his maritime adventures, the Inquisition raged in Spain. There and elsewhere in Europe, the suspects in retreating from Christianity were tortured and executed in all sorts, to which the inventive imagination of the Europeans was capable. Some hung, burned at the stake, cooked in a cauldron or hung on a rack. Others - crushed, chopped off their heads, skinned alive skin, stoked and quartered.
Such was the world that the former slave-merchant Christopher Columbus and his sailors left behind in the aft in August 1492. They were typical inhabitants of this world, his deadly bacilli, the murderous power of which was soon to be experienced by millions of human beings living on the other side of the Atlantic.
"When the white gentlemen came to our land, they brought fear and wilting of flowers. They disfigured and destroyed the color of other nations. Marauders by day, criminals at night, murderers of the world." Mayan Chilam Balam Book.
Stanard and Churchill devote quite a few pages to describing the conspiracy of the Euro-American scientific establishment to conceal the actual population of the Americas in the pre-Columbian era. At the head of this conspiracy stood the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. And Ward Churchill also talks in detail about the resistance that American Zionist scholars specialize in the so-called area of strategic ideology of modern imperialism. "Holocaust", i.e. Nazi genocide against European Jews, have attempts of progressive historians to establish the real scale and world-historical significance of the genocide of the native people of America at the hands of "Western civilization." We will look at the last question in the second part of this article on the genocide in North America. As for the flagship of the official American science, the Smithsonian Institute, until very recently, promoted as "scientific" estimates of the number of the pre-Columbian population made in 19 - the beginning of the 20 century by anthropologists-racists like James Mooney, according to which in North America no more 1 lived 100 000 people. Only in the postwar period, the application of agricultural analysis methods allowed to establish that the population density there was much higher, and that even in the 17 century, for example, on the island of Martha's Vinyard, now the resort place of the richest and most influential Euro-Americans, thousands of Indians lived in 3. By the middle of 60x. an estimate of the size of the indigenous population north of Rio Grande has risen to at least 12,5 million by the start of the invasion of European colonizers. Only in the Great Lakes region to 1492 lived up to 3,8 millions, and in the Mississippi basin and major tributaries - to 5,25. In 80. New research has shown that the population of pre-Columbian North America could reach 18,5, and the entire hemisphere - 112 million (Dobins). Based on these studies, the Cherokee demographer Russell Thornton made calculations to determine how many people actually lived, and could not live in North America. His conclusion: a minimum of 9-12,5 million. Recently, many historians have taken the average between the calculations of Dobins and Thornton, i.e. 15 million as the most likely approximate number of Native Americans. In other words, the population of this continent was about fifteen times higher than what the Smithsonian Institution asserted back in 80x, and seven and a half times more than what it is prepared to admit today. Moreover, the calculations close to those that Dobins and Thornton conducted were already known in the middle of the 19 century, but they were ignored as ideologically unacceptable, contrary to the central myth of the conquerors of the allegedly "primeval", "deserted" continent, who just waited for them to inhabit .
On the basis of modern data, we can say that when 12 October 1492 Christopher Columbus descended on one of the islands of the continent, soon called the "New World," its population ranged from 100 to 145 million people (Stanard). Two centuries later, it declined by 90%. To date, the most "lucky" of the once existing peoples of the Americas retained no more than 5% of its previous strength. By its size and duration (until today), the genocide of the indigenous population of the Western Hemisphere has no parallel in world history.
So in the Hispaniola, where up to 1492 flourished about 8 million Tainos, by 1570 there were only two miserable villages of the island's indigenous people, about whom 80 years ago Columbus wrote that "there is no better and more affectionate people in the world."
Some statistics on the areas.
For 75 years - from the appearance of the first Europeans in 1519 to 1594 - the population in Central Mexico, the most densely populated area of the American continent, declined by 95%, from 25 million to barely 1 million 300 thousand people.
For 60 years since the arrival of the Spaniards, the population of Western Nicaragua has decreased by 99%, from more than 1 million to less than 10 thousand people.
In West and Central Honduras, over half a century, 95% of indigenous people were killed. In Cordoba, near the Gulf of Mexico, 97% for a century with a small. In the neighboring province of Jalapa, too, 97% of the population was destroyed: from 180 thousand in 1520 to 5 thousand in 1626. And so - throughout Mexico and Central America. The arrival of the Europeans meant the rapid and almost complete disappearance of the indigenous population who lived and flourished there for many millennia.
On the eve of the invasion of Europeans in Peru and Chile, in the homeland of the Incas lived from 9 to 14 million people ... Long before the end of the century in Peru, there were no more than 1 million inhabitants. And in a few years - only half of it. 94% of Andean population were destroyed, from 8,5 to 13,5 million people.
Brazil was, perhaps, the most populated area of both Americas. According to the first Portuguese Governor, Tomé de Souza, the reserves of the indigenous population here were inexhaustible "even if we were cutting them into a slaughterhouse." He was wrong. Already in 20 years after the founding of the colony in 1549, epidemics and slave labor on plantations led the peoples of Brazil to the brink of extinction.
By the end of the 16 century, about 200 thousand Spaniards moved to both "India". In Mexico, Central America and further to the south. By the same time, from 60 to 80 millions of indigenous people of these regions were destroyed.
Methods of the genocide of the Columbian era
Here we see striking parallels with the methods of the Nazis. Already in the second expedition of Columbus (1493), the Spaniards used an analogue of the Hitlerite sondero commands to enslave and destroy the local population. The parties of Spanish thugs with dogs trained in the murder of a person, instruments of torture, gallows and shackles organized regular punitive expeditions with indispensable mass executions. But it is important to emphasize the following. The connection of this early capitalist genocide with the Nazi lay deeper. The people of Tainos who inhabited Greater Antilles and completely exterminated for several decades, fell victim to not "medieval" atrocities, non-Christian fanaticism, or even the pathological greed of European invaders. Both the one and the other led to genocide, only being organized by new economic rationality. The entire population of Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica and other islands were registered as private property, which was supposed to be profitable. This methodical account of the huge population of Europeans scattered around the world's largest islands by a handful of Europeans who have just emerged from the Middle Ages is most striking.
Columbus first used mass hangings.
From Spanish accountants in lats and with a cross there is a direct thread to the "rubber" genocide in the "Belgian" Congo, which killed 10 millions of Africans, and to the Nazi slave labor system for destruction.
Columbus ordered all residents older than 14 years every three months to give the Spaniards a thimble of golden sand or 25 pounds of cotton (in areas where there was no gold). The copper token with the date of receipt of the last tribute was hung around the neck of this quota. The token gave its holder the right to three months of life. Caught without this token or with the expired cut off the brushes of both hands, they hung them on the neck of the victim and sent her to die in her village. Columbus, previously engaged in the slave trade along the west coast of Africa, apparently took this form of execution from Arab slavers. During the time of the Governorate of Columbus, only in Hispaniola was thus killed up to 10 thousand Indians. It was almost impossible to fulfill the established quota. The locals had to quit cultivating food and all other things to dig gold. The famine began. Weakened and demoralized, they became easy prey for Spanish diseases. Such as the flu, carried by pigs from Canar, which was brought to the Hispaniola second expedition of Columbus. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Tainos died in this first pandemic of American genocide. An eyewitness describes the huge piles of people who died of influenza from Hispaniola, who no one had to bury. Indians tried to escape where the eyes look: across the island, in the mountains, even on other islands. But there was no salvation anywhere. Mothers killed their children before killing themselves. Entire villages resorted to mass suicides, rushing from rocks or taking poison. But even more was the death in the hands of the Spaniards.
In addition to atrocities, which at least could be explained by cannibal rationality of systematic gain, the genocide on the Atills and then on the continent included seemingly irrational, unjustified forms of violence on a mass scale and pathological, sadistic forms. Modern Columbus sources describe how the Spanish colonists hung, roasted on skewers, burned Indians at the stake. The children were cut into pieces for feeding dogs. And this despite the fact that the Tainos at first did not give the Spaniards almost no resistance. "The Spaniards were betting on who could cut a man in half with one blow or cut his head, or they ripped open their bellies." They tore the babies from their mother's breasts and smashed their heads against stones .... They inflicted other children on their long swords together with their mothers and all who stood before them. " None of the SS on the Eastern Front could be demanded more zeal, Ward Churchill rightly observes. We add that the Spaniards established the rule that for one dead Christian, they would kill a hundred Indians. The Nazis did not need to invent anything. They had only to copy.
Cuban Lidice 16 century
The testimonies of the Spaniards of that era about their sadism are truly innumerable. In one frequently cited episode in Cuba, a Spanish unit of about 100 soldiers made a halt on the riverbank and, finding in it grindstone, imprisoned their swords about them. Wishing to test their acuity, the eyewitness of this event reports, they attacked a group of men, women, children and old people (apparently specially driven for this) sitting on the shore, who were looking at the Spaniards and their horses in fear, and began to rip open their stomachs, cut them and cut them, until they were all killed. Then they entered a large house nearby and did the same there, killing all they found there. From the house streams of blood flowed, as if a herd of cows had been slaughtered there. Seeing the terrible wounds of the dead and dying was a terrible sight.
This massacre began in the village of Zukayo, whose inhabitants, shortly before, prepared a dinner for the conquistadors from cassava, fruit and fish. From there it spread throughout the district. Nobody knows how many Indians were killed by the Spaniards in this blast of sadism, until their bloodlust dulled, but Las Casas believes that much more than 20 thousand.
The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing sophisticated atrocities and tortures. They built a gallows high enough that the hanged man could touch the ground with his toes to avoid strangulation, and thus hung up thirteen Indians, one after another, in honor of Christ the Savior and his apostles. While the Indians were still alive, the Spaniards tested on them the sharpness and strength of their swords, opening their breasts with one blow, so that the viscera could be seen, and there were others who did the worst things. Then, on their dissected bodies they reeled up the straw and burned alive. One soldier caught two children of the year for two, pierced his throat with a dagger and threw them into the abyss.
If these descriptions seem familiar to those who heard of the massacres in Mai Lai, Song Mai and other Vietnamese villages, then this similarity becomes even stronger with the term "pacification", which the Spaniards used to describe their terror. But no matter how terrifying the massacres in Vietnam, they are not comparable in scale to what happened five hundred years ago on the island of Hispaniola alone. By the time Columbus arrived in 1492, the population of this island was 8 million. Four years later, the death toll was lost from one-third to one-half of that number. And after 1496 the rate of destruction has increased.
Unlike British America, where the genocide had as its immediate objective the physical destruction of the indigenous population to gain "living space", the genocide in Central and South America became a by-product of the brutal exploitation of Indians for economic purposes. Massacres and torture were not uncommon, but they served as a tool of terror in order to subdue and "appease" the indigenous population. The inhabitants of America were viewed as tens of millions of gift-producing natural slaves for the extraction of gold and silver. There were so many of them that the rational economic method for the Spaniards was not the reproduction of the labor of their slaves, but their replacement. The Indians were killed by unbearable work, then replaced by a fresh slave party.
From the highlands of the Andes, they were driven to the coca plantation in the lowlands of the rainforest, where their unaccustomed to this climate organism became an easy prey for deadly diseases. Such as "uta", from which the nose, mouth and throat rotted and died an excruciating death. So high was mortality in these plantations (up to 50% in five months), that even the Crown was worried, issuing a decree restricting the production of coca. Like all decrees of this kind, he remained on paper, for, as the contemporary wrote, "on the coca plantations there is one disease that is worse than all others." This is the unlimited greed of the Spaniards. "
But it was even worse to get to the silver mines. Workers were lowered to a depth of 250 meters with a bag of roasted maize for a week-long change. In addition to back-breaking work, collapses, poor ventilation and abuse of supervisors, Indian miners breathed poisonous fumes of arsenic, mercury, etc. "If 20 healthy Indians descend to the mine on Monday, only half can climb out of it crippled on Sunday," one contemporary wrote. Stanard calculates that the average life expectancy of coca collectors and Indian miners in the early genocide period was no more than three or four months, i.е. about the same as at the factory of synthetic rubber in Auschwitz at 1943.
Hernan Cortez tortures the Quauhtemoc to find out where the Aztecs hid gold
After the slaughter in the capital of the Aztecs, Tenochtetlane, Cortes declared Central Mexico "New Spain" and established there a colonial regime based on slave labor. This is how a contemporary describes the methods of "pacification" (hence "pacification" as Washington's official policy during the Vietnam War) and enslavement of Indians for work in the mines.
“Numerous testimonies of numerous witnesses tell how Indians are led by columns to the mines. They are chained to each other with neckbands.
Pits with stakes on which the Indians were stringed
Those who fall, chop off the head. They tell about children who are locked up in houses and burned, and also slaughtered if they are going too slowly. Cutting off the breasts of women and tying weights to their feet before dumping them into a lake or lagoon is common. They tell about babies cut off from their mothers, killed and used as road signs. Runaway or “stray” Indians are cut off their limbs and sent to their villages, hanging their hands and noses around their necks. They talk about "pregnant women, children and old people who are caught as much as possible" and thrown into special pits, at the bottom of which sharp poles are dug and "leave them there until the pit is full." And many, many more things. ” (Stanard, 82-83)
Indians burned in houses
As a result, of the roughly 25 million inhabitants who inhabited the Mexican kingdom by the time the Conquistadors arrived, only 1595 million remained alive for 1,3. The rest were mostly tortured in the mines and plantations of "New Spain".
In the Andes, where Pizarro's gangs were operating with swords and whips, by the end of the 16 century the population had fallen from 14 million to less than 1 million people. The reasons were the same as in Mexico and Central America. As one Spaniard in Peru wrote in 1539, “the Indians here are completely destroyed and die ... It is prayed with a cross to be given food for the sake of God. But [the soldiers] kill all the llamas for nothing more than to make candles ... The Indians are left nothing to sow, and since they have no cattle and take them from nowhere, they just have to die of hunger. ” (Churchill, 103)
The psychological aspect of genocide
The newest historians of the American genocide are beginning to pay more attention to its psychological aspect, the role of depression and stress in the destruction of dozens and hundreds of peoples and ethnic groups without a trace. And here I see a number of parallels with the modern situation of the peoples of the former Soviet Union.
The chronicles of genocide have preserved numerous evidence of the "dislocation" of the indigenous population of America. The cultural war, which the European conquerors for centuries carried out against the cultures of enslaved peoples with the open intent of their destruction, had monstrous consequences on the psyche of the indigenous population of the New World. The reaction to this "psychic attack" varied from alcoholism to chronic depression, mass infanticide and suicide, and even more often people just lay down and died. Side effects of the defeat of the psyche were a sharp fall in the birth rate and the rise of child mortality. Even if diseases, hunger, hard labor and murders did not lead to the complete destruction of the indigenous collective, this was sooner or later brought about by the low birth rate and infant mortality. The Spaniards noticed a sharp drop in the number of children and at times tried to get the Indians to have children.
Kirkpatrick Sale has summed up the reaction of the Tainos to his genocide:
"Las Casas, like others, expresses the opinion that most of all in strange white people from large ships the Tainos were struck not by their violence, not even by their greed and the strange attitude to property, but rather by their coldness, their spiritual callousness, the lack of love in them ". (Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise, p. 151.)
In general, reading the history of imperialist genocide on all continents - from Hispaniola, the Andes and California to sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and Tasmania - start in a different way to understand literature like "War of the Worlds" Wells or "The Martian Chronicles" of Bradbury, not to mention the Hollywood invasion of aliens. Do not lead if these nightmares Euro-American fiction originated from suppressed in the "collective unconscious" horrors of the past are not called if they suppress the feelings of guilt (or, conversely, to prepare for a new genocide) portraying himself as a victim "inoplyanetyan" who slaughtered your ancestors from Columbus to Churchill, Hitler and Bush?
Demonization of the victim
The genocide in America also had its propaganda, its “black PR”, strikingly similar to that used by the Euro-American imperialists to “demonize” their future enemy in the eyes of their population, to give war and aura of justice to the looting.
16 January 1493, three days after the killing of two Tainos during the trade, Columbus turned his ships on a return course to Europe. In his journal he described the natives killed by the Spaniards and their people as "the evil inhabitants of the island of Carib, who eat people." As proven by modern anthropologists, it was a fiction of pure water, but it formed the basis for a sort of classification of the population of Antill, and then of the entire New World, which became the guide to genocide. Those who welcomed and obeyed the colonialists were considered "affectionate Tainos." The same natives who resisted or were simply killed by the Spaniards fell under the rubric of savage cannibals deserving everything that the colonialists were able to inflict on them. (In particular, in the logbook from 4 and 23 November 1492, we find such creations of Columbus's gloomy medieval imagination: these "savage savages" "have an eye in the middle of the forehead," they have "dog noses with which they drink the blood of their victims, who they cut their throats and castrated. ")
"These islands are inhabited by cannibals, wild, unruly race that feeds on human flesh of their properly called cannibalism They are constantly at war against the gentle and timid Indians for their bodies;.. It is their trophies, then, for what they are hunting They ruthlessly kill and terrorize. Indians ".
This description of Coma, one of the participants in the second expedition of Columbus, says much more about the Europeans than about the inhabitants of the Caribbean. The Spaniards pre-dehumanized people they had never seen, but who were supposed to be their victims. And this is not a distant story; it reads like today's newspaper.
"Wild and disobedient race" are the key words of Western imperialism, from Columbus to Bush. "Wild" - because it does not want to be a slave to the "civilized" invader. Among the "wild" "enemies of civilization" were written and the Soviet Communists. From Columbus, invents in 1493 Caribbean cannibals with an eye on the forehead and dog noses, there is a direct thread to Reichsfuhrer Himmler, who at a meeting of SS leaders in the middle of 1942 explained the specifics of the war on the Eastern Front:
"In all previous campaigns, the enemies of Germany had enough common sense and decency to yield to a superior force, thanks to their" long and civilized ... Western European sophistication. "In the battle for France, the enemy units surrendered as soon as they received a warning that" further resistance of course, "we SS men" came to Russia without illusions, but until the last winter too many Germans did not realize that "the Russian commissars and stubborn Bolsheviks are filled with a brutal will to power and animal obstinacy but that makes them fight to the end and has nothing to do with human logic or duty ... but is an instinct inherent in all animals. "The Bolsheviks were" animals "so" devoid of all human "that" surrounded and without food they resorted to the murder of their comrades to hold out a little longer, "behavior bordering on the" cannibalism ". This" war of annihilation "between" gross matter, the primitive mass, rather, subhuman-Untermensch who are commissioners "and" Germans .. . "(Arno J. Mayer. Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The "Final Solution" in History. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988, p. 281.)
In fact, and in strict accordance with the principle of ideological inversion, cannibalism was not done by the indigenous inhabitants of the New World, but by their conquerors. The second expedition of Columbus brought to the Caribbean a large batch of mastiffs and greyhounds, trained to kill people and eat their entrails. Very soon the Spaniards began to feed their dogs with a human. A special delicacy was considered to be live children. The colonizers allowed dogs to gnaw them alive, often in the presence of their parents.
Dog eat indians
Spaniard feeding the hounds of Indian children
Modern historians have come to believe that there was a whole network of "butcher shops" in the Caribbean, where the bodies of the Indians were sold as dog food. Like everything else in the heritage of Columbus, cannibalism was developed on the mainland. There is a letter from one of the conquerors of the Inca Empire, in which he writes: “... when I returned from Cartagena, I met a Portuguese named Rohe Martin. On the porch of his house were hanging pieces of chopped Indians to feed his dogs, as if they were wild beasts ... ”(Stanard, 88)
In turn, the Spaniards often had to eat their dogs, man-fed, when in search of gold and slaves they fell into a difficult situation and suffered from hunger. This is one of the gloomy ironies of this genocide.
Churchill asks the question of how to explain the fact that a group of human beings, even those like the Spaniards of the Columbus era, collectively obsessed with a thirst for wealth and prestige, could for a long time display such unlimited ferocity, such beyond limits, inhumanity towards other people ? The same question was posed earlier by Stanard, who in detail traced the ideological roots of the genocide in America from the early Middle Ages to the Renaissance. "Who are these people whose minds and souls stood for the genocides of Muslims, Africans, Indians, Jews, Gypsies and other religious, racial and ethnic groups?" Who are they who continue to commit mass murders today? " What kind of people could commit these heinous crimes? Christians, Stanard answers, and invites the reader to get acquainted with the views of European Christians going from the ancient antiquity to gender, race and war. He discovers that by the end of the Middle Ages, European culture had prepared all the necessary prerequisites for a four-hundred-year-old genocide against the indigenous inhabitants of the New World.
He pays special attention to the Christian imperative of suppressing "carnal desires," that is, the church imposed repressive attitude to sexuality in European culture. In particular, he establishes a genetic link between the genocide in the New World and all-European waves of terror in relation to the "witches" in which some modern researchers see the bearers of the matriarchal pagan ideology popular among the masses and the threatened authority of the Church and the feudal elite.
Stanard also emphasizes the European origin of the concept of race and color.
The Church has always supported the slave trade, although in the early Middle Ages it was in principle forbidden to keep Christians in slavery. After all, for the Church only a Christian was a man in the full sense of the word. "The infidels" could become human only by accepting Christianity, and this gave them the right to freedom. But in the 14 century, a sinister change is taking place in the politics of the Church. With the increase in the volume of the slave trade in the Mediterranean, profits from it also increased. But these revenues were threatened with a loophole left by churchmen to strengthen the ideology of Christian exclusiveness. Earlier ideological motives came into conflict with the material interests of the Christian ruling classes. And here in 1366, the prelates of Florence sanctioned the importation and sale of "infidel" slaves, explaining that by "infidels" are meant "all slaves of the wrong origin, even if by the time of their import they became Catholics" and that "infidels by origin "means simply" out of the land and the race of infidels ". Thus, the Church has changed the principle that justifies slavery, from religious to ethnic, which is an important step towards genocides of modern times, based on unchanging racial and ethnic features (Armenian, Jewish, Gypsy, Slavic and others).
The European racial "science" did not lag behind religion. The specificity of European feudalism was the requirement of the genetic exclusivity of the nobility. In Spain, the concept of "purity of blood," limpieza de sangra, became central to the end of 15 and throughout the 16 century. Nobility could not be achieved either by wealth or by merit. The origins of "racial science" lie in the genealogical research of the time, which was conducted by an army of specialists in the verification of genealogical lines.
Particularly important was the theory of "separate and unequal origin," put forward by the famous Swiss physician and philosopher Paracelsus to 1520. According to this theory, Africans, Indians and other non-Christian "colored" peoples did not come from Adam and Eve, but from other and lower ancestors. The ideas of Paracelsus are widespread in Europe on the eve of the invasion of Europeans in Mexico and South America. These ideas were an early expression of the so-called. the theory of "polygenesis", which became an indispensable part of the pseudoscientific racism 19 century. But even before the publication of the writings of Paracelsus, similar ideological justifications of genocide appeared in Spain (1512) and Scotland (1519). The Spaniard Bernardo de Mesa (later bishop of Cuba) and the Scot Johann Meijer came to the same conclusion that the indigenous inhabitants of the New World were a special race that God intended to be slaves to European Christians. The height of the theological debates of Spanish intellectuals on the subject of whether Indians are people or monkeys is in the mid-12th century, when millions of people in Central and South America died from terrible epidemics, brutal massacres and hard labor.
The official historian of the "Indies" Fernandez de Ovieda did not deny the atrocities against the Indians and described "countless cruel deaths, incalculable as stars." But he considered it acceptable, because "to use gunpowder against the Gentiles is to smoke incense for the Lord." And to Las Casas's entreaties to spare the inhabitants of America, the theologian Juan de Sepulveda stated: "How can one doubt that the nations so uncivilized, so barbaric and spoiled by so many sins and perversions were justly conquered." He quoted Aristotle, who wrote in his Politics that some people are "slaves from nature" and "should be driven like wild beasts to make them live properly." To which Las Casas replied: "Let's forget about Aristotle, because, fortunately, we have the covenant of Christ: Love your neighbor as yourself." (But even Las Casas, the most passionate and humane European defender of the Indians, felt compelled to admit, that they are "possibly full barbarians").
But if among the church intelligentsia opinions on the nature of the natives of America could differ, a full unanimity reigned among the European masses on this score. Another of 15 years before the great debate between Las Casas and Sepulveda Spanish columnist wrote that "ordinary people" is widely regarded as the sages of those who are convinced that the American Indians are not human, and "special, a third kind of animals between humans and apes were created God, to better serve man. " (Stanard, 211).
So in the early 16 century, a racist apology of colonialism and suprematism is formed, which in the hands of the Euro-American ruling classes will serve as an excuse ("defense of civilization") for subsequent genocides (and yet forthcoming?). It is not surprising, therefore, that on the basis of his research Stanard puts forward the thesis of a deep ideological connection between the Spanish and Anglo-Saxon genocide of the peoples of America and the Nazi genocide of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs. European colonizers, white settlers and Nazis had the same ideological roots. And this ideology, Stanard adds, remains alive today. It was on it that the US intervention in South-East Asia and the Middle East was based.
List of used literature
1. JM Blaut. The Colonizer's Model of the World. Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History. New Yourk: The Giulford Press, 1993.
2. Ward churchill. A Little Matter of Genocide. Holocaust and the Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present. San Francisco: City Lights, 1997.
3.CLR James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage, 1989.
4. Arno J. Mayer. Why Didn't The Darken? New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.
5. David Stannard. American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. Oxford University Press, 1993.