Once the majority of the Tahinos of the Caribbean islands were virtually decimated by overwork and diseases brought to them by the Spanish, many Mayan men were sent to the islands to replace them as slaves only to fall to the same circumstances. As the Maya died of the same circumstances, the Spaniards looked toward Africa for forced labor.
Meanwhile, in the ruined city of Tenochtitlan, Aztecs remarked that: "(The Spanish) choose women that were of the fairest skin, those that most reminded them of the olive skin women they left behind in Spain. Other women had mud wiped on their faces and were dressed in tattered rags.
Some men, the strong and brave were also separated. Young boys were also taken to be servants to men they now had to call 'master'. Others, after all, were were branded with fire near their mouth, and others on the cheek, some on the lips.
The Spanish conquistadors, paying little attention to how they administered their new territories in the Americas, established a harsh system of rule, known as the 'encomienda". The encomiendo provided for "military protection, along with the salvation of the (indigenous peoples') souls", in exchange for the indigenous peoples' complete dominance, which usually meant their servitude. In short, it was a disguised form of slavery, from which very few escaped alive. Presently, many indigenous people continue to live in the same harsh conditions, mainly due to their lack of access to education, land with which to grow their crops, and voice within the governments of the countries in which they presently live.
Stop Here and Discuss:
I. Is it important for everyone to be given the same opportunities, such as the right to an education?
2. Do you think that our ancestors have influenced the opportunities that we have? Do world economies play a role in giving some people better access to greater-than -average lifestyles, while other people see nothing of this? Explain with examples.
Other study guides:
Second Class Citizens
Destruction of Histories
Death by Diseases
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