A. Consider these Historical Facts.
1. ACCORDING TO Friar Bartolome de la casas; "There were 60,000 people living on this island [when I arrived in 1508],
including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery and the mines.
Who in future generations will believe this?" Historians estimate the original range from a few hundred thousands up
to 8,000,000 in the Caribbean. So 125,000 from 1494 to 1496 in Haiti were killed that counts for 171 Indians per day. By 1500
there was only about 10% of the Taino population left alive. If you take 3,000,000 from 1496 to 1508 when Bartolome wrote
his statement that is 14 years. Divide 14 years by 3,000,000, that come to 587 Indians per day killed from European diseases,
labor death camps from mines and fields, slaughtered for revolting or refusing to work, or committed suicide to escape the
cruel new masters. Was that GENOCIDE? Webster defines Genocide as the systematic killing of substantial numbers of people
on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status or other particularity. The truth is the truth and history
needs to be corrected.
2. On Columbus' 2nd voyage, he began to require tribute from the Taino in Hispanola. Each adult over 14 years of age was
expected to deliver a certain quantity of gold. In the earlier days of the conquest, if this tribute was not observed, the
Taino were either mutilated or executed. Later on, fearing a loss of labor forces, they were ordered to bring 25lbs of cotton.
This also gave way to a service requirement called "encomienda". Under this system, Taino were required to work
for a Spanish land owner for most of the year, which left little time to tend to their own community affairs
3. A detailed description of the way in which those first Spanish settlers acted is supplied by father bartolome de las
casas in his 'brief account of the destruction of the Indies'. De las casas visited 'the Indies' at the beginning of the 16th
'The great destruction, misery and extermination of these unfortunate people, began on the island Hispaniola, where the
Christians first went ashore,'' he wrote. "The Spaniards took the wives and children from the Indians and abused them.
They ate all the Indians' food...''
He wrote of how the Spaniards made bets with each other about chopping someone in two with a single stroke of the sword,
or splitting his head with a pike. They tore away new-born children from the breasts of their mothers and smashed their heads
Thirteen Indians at a time were hanged on the gallows, a ritual glorifying the savior and his 12 apostles.
4. Columbus was heavily indebted. Exploring financing possibilities in Italy, whose bankers had stepped into the vacuum
created in Spain after the inquisition eradicated many Jewish financiers, Columbus struck a deal with Juanoto Berardi, a slave
trader with offices in Seville.
In return for loans, Columbus promised to supply slaves from the lands he would reach. He returned from his first voyage
with a few arawaks, but more as curiosity items than to trade.
'In the name of the holy trinity,'' Columbus wrote to the sovereigns, ''we can send from here all the slaves that can
be sold ... if your majesties so commanded, the entire population could be shipped to castile or be enslaved on the island
... since these people are totally ignorant of martial arts.''
Three hundred of the 500 slaves survived the first voyage. Those who did survive eventually succumbed to a variety of
European diseases. Columbus' second voyage was meant to be the beginning of a real trade in order to repay his debts to Berardi.
Under orders from the Spanish crown Berardi bought a ship for Columbus' second trip which was undertaken with a total
of 17 vessels and 1,500 sailors. They sailed off in 1493.
In April of the next year, de Torres returned early with 1,000 Caribbean slaves. Columbus had ordered him to hand them
over to Berardi, but the arawaks' condition was miserable. Columbus had a similar plan for his third journey. But by then
there was such criticism of the trading in the frail arawaks that Queen Isabella signed a decree prohibiting their sale.
When Columbus refused to heed the decree, the monarchs sent a personal emissary to stop him. The navigator and his brother
Bartholomew were eventually returned to Spain in chains. There, Isabella pardoned him. Columbus died in 1506, bitter and isolated.