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The impacts of the European conquest on the Native American population:

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                           The impacts of the European conquest on the Native American population:

Ever since their discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Native American nations had been engaged in a constant struggle that has perhaps only ended recently with the rise of the 20th century.

As expansionist European conquistadores stormed into the New World, equipped with an army of tremendously zealous white soldiers and powered by a compilation of more advanced weaponry, there was not much initial resistance they faced.

The year 1519 experienced the first tremors of a tsunami of European rampage into the Americas when Hernando Cortes landed on the island of San Juan du Ulua. Cortes and his men succeeded in destroying the Aztec Empire in not more than half a decade from then. Without the slightest sense of remorse, the Spaniards had burnt sacred Aztec books, ruined their agriculture, demolished their homes and temples and slaughtered almost every soul. Surely, Cortes had made up his mind to wipe out all traces of remnant civilization in the New World.

The Europeans were all over them. The strongest Empires of the time such as The Incas also failed to hold the foreigners. Their timber was no match to heavy, piercing metals and canons.

In no time, the whole of the New World had been fully conquered by different European nations.

The European population impacted the native population immensely:

·          Cultural impacts

There was hardly any form of cultural heritage left after the conquest. The conquerors made sure to thoroughly burn down the native culture and tradition.

·          A colossal population fall:

It is known that Peru withstood a massive population decrease from 1.3 million in 1570 to only 600,000 people in 1620. The lands of Central Mexico also recorded a huge population fall of nearly 24 million people n less than 90 years.

·          Economic impacts

Conquests were missions primarily directed to achieve Gold, Glory and spread the essence of God. Looting the native economy was a critical objective of these crusades of terror. The Ecomienda system ensured that the natives gave away their lands as rewards to the conquistadors in exchange for protection.

The concept is also sometimes also perceived as a form of legalized slavery.

·          Racial impacts and birth of new genes

Soon, the Americas were to become a cultural estuary that mingled the African slaves and the white settlers with the natives.

Negros, Mestizos, Castizas, Mulattos, Morisos, Albinos and Cambujas were some of the newly born genetic forms as a consequence of this great sexual mingle.

·          Demographic effects and diseases

Many of the epidemic illness flourishing in Europe were to creep into the Americas along with the foreigners. These diseases decimated the indigenous American population. Smallpox, influenza and measles were amongst the first European diseases to have corrupted the Americas.

The struggle has probably only ended recently. Not long back, several Native American tribes such as the Sioux and Seminole were terrorized and executed. The Minnesota uprising, followed by the Wounded Knee, the sand creek and the fall creek massacres are still fresh in the memories of the very few Native American alive.

References:

Kennedy.M.David. The American Pageant.  13th edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2005

 

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