The catastrophic population loss in the Americas wasn’t induced by European violence, but by European pathogens - something no one at the time could have predicted.
Because if the Aztecs had had the steel and small pox, I am sure North American would have been so much more peaceful.
Actually, this experiment has already been done for us. During the 17th and 18th century, a previously insignificant tribe in the general area of what is now Wyoming got the hang of riding horses and took control of what we now call “The Southern Great Plains.”
What do you think was the main mode of persuasion the newly-empowered people used to take control of this huge area:
- Diplomacy based on respect for human rights
- Religious inspiration
- Persistent, organized warfare.
Stumped? I’ll give you two hints:
- We now call this group “Commanches,” a word derived from the Ute word for “enemy”.
- They were the only indigenous group in North American to maintain organized armed resistance to US expansion for three generations (1820-1880, roughly).
What my ancestors did in North American was ethnic cleansing and genocide, pure and simple. Any discussion must acknowledge this basic fact. But my white antecedents were not uniquely evil within their own historical context. We have extensive historical documentation to support that claim the political leaders amongst the First Peoples would have pursued similar policies if they could have.
With historical events, it’s not a case of “right and wrong.” It’s about being honest about what happened, and using that knowledge to forge a better and more just future together.
Vonnegut writes up the history honestly:
The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.
From Breakfast of Champions
Am I crazy or are we talking about the European conquest of North America?
Similar results were produced on many islands “discovered” and colonized by Europeans. Witness the eradication of the Carib tribes.
For a non-European example, witness the devastation caused by the Maori once armed with European-supplied firearms.
You could compare how people are so quick to get defensive and make excuses for the Native American Genocide vs. how other atrocities that happened (in some case in the same lifetimes) are condemned without excuses. As far as “indigenous” goes, I would consider the situation in the Americas to be unique as you have an ethnic population that had not been changed since prehistory, or really EVER. In the case of the “Old World” I’d definitely call a population like those that lived in the British Isles pre-Viking and pre-Roman “indigenous”, but I think it’s kinda apples and oranges. Whenever these affronts to humanity happen it’s a horror though, it’s just a shame that the same people feel the need to always make excuses.
Ungh. Yeah, if only Indians were smart enough to have superior white technology they’d have wiped 99% of themselves out as well… Of course these conflicts had nothing to do with white expansion West and the increasing pressure that put on tribes pushed ever further and further out of their traditional areas.
Enhanced by systematic slavery, violence and abuse. Calculated. You show your true colors by denying this.
You didn’t answer the question at all, in fact, changed the subject. How was this status quo in Europe at this time? Entire continents decimated? Did the Chinese or Arabs kill 99% of Europeans? The flipside to this would of course be a Europe where whites were a minority accounting for 1% of the population, so please no sob stories about white on white violence to your great, great, great, great uncle’s, sister’s, cousin’s former roommate.
I’m not sure where you get that I’m in any way denying that slavery, violence and abuse were part of the American Conquest. Slavery, violence, and abuse were part of almost every historical conquest. That’s my entire point.
You seem to suggest that the American Conquest was somehow more brutal or terrible than others by citing the massive depopulation of the Americas, but the simple fact is that almost the entirety of the depopulation was not the result of conquest, but of disease.
Were slavery, violence and abuse also part of the equation? Certainly. But in that aspect the American Conquest was no different than any other.
One thing that amuses me? The phrase “showing one’s true colors” is a term born from Nationalistic ideals of competition and warfare, referring directly to the flying of a certain nation’s “colors”, or flag - in effect, declaring one’s allegiance to a particular nation or cause. It seems ironic that you would criticize me by employing a turn of phrase born directly from what is effectively a form of tribal squabbling.
You’re still not understanding.
The Europeans did not kill 99% of the Americans. The diseases carried by the Europeans did.
Yes, the Europeans subjugated, exploited, and were otherwise awful to the survivors of the various pandemics caused by the Columbian Exchange. But they subjugated, exploited, and were otherwise awful to everyone else, including other Europeans, to essentially the exact same extent.
Add to that the fact that the Americans themselves subjugated, exploited, and were otherwise awful to other Americans - and the fact that all humanity, all across the globe, throughout all of time has historically subjugated, exploited, and been otherwise awful to their fellow humans - and you begin to see the problem.
Funny you should mention the Chinese.
The Chinese census dropped from 120 million in 1279 to 60 million in 1300 thanks to the Mongols. Persia, with its recurring rebellions against faraway Mongol rulers, suffered catastrophically. Credible estimates range as high as 90% population loss. The Mongols achieved all that without deploying the most accomplished mass-murderers of the New World: small pox, cholera, pneumonia, tuberculosis, et al.
As for the Arabs, you do know that it was the Arabs who originally set up the African slave trade, right?
Other Turkic-speaking groups also made a pretty good go at extermination. Ever hear of guy named “Timur the Lame”? While we don’t have body counts, we have pretty strong evidence that he and his compatriots eliminated several major Indo-European languages. We also know he had a most fascinating pyramids building method.
And it’s not like the steppe nomads were some sort of historical outlier. This stuff pops up all over history. The rise of the Aztecs was extremely violent, especially the tribute they demanded from subjugated neighbors. Shaku Zulu’s military expansion was known as the Mfecane – the annihilation. Extermination as a political tool is even in the Bible. Throughout the Exodus, God demands repeated genocides as the Israelites move into Canaan.
And yes, Europeans DID suffer 90%+ casualty rates when the tables turned. Several European settlements in the tropics were essentially wiped out by tropical diseases (eg the Darien Scheme).
So we’re just supposed ignore the Shoah? And the catastrophic annihilation of the Roma?
Or are these groups not “white” enough for you?
Acts in themselves “justified” by prior exterminations.
“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” - Adolf Hitler, August 22, 1939
This not long after the Munich Agreement, in which the major powers decided that letting Hitler forcibly annex Czechoslovakia was the proper course of action. “Peace for Our Time” and all that.
In modern history. You keep being deliberately evasive because you have no point and are just making weak, defensive excuses.
The difference being that whites apologists make endless defensive excuses for the genocide that happened in the Americas (up to fairly recently) while you’d never do the same for The Holocaust, etc. Acknowledging the immorality and wickedness in one threatens your privilege, while the others do not. Pretty simple. That’s why we have all these lame (ahistorical) excuses. Same tired, predictable routine over and over.
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