The relationship between Westerners and those that they labeled outsiders in the early modern period was a tawdry one, rooted in the notion that the Westerner was the superior and the outsider the sycophant. The term outsider meant anyone not white, Christian, and of European birth, and, in the Western view, had an explicitly negative connotation. And, though it was disguised under various pretexts, vilification of various ethnic and religious groups, such as the Jews, Native Americans, and Africans, became not the exception but the unfortunate norm.
The early modern period, a time interval spanning the three centuries between 1500 and 1800, saw the commencement of expeditions into North America (the New World). The main Western powers at this time were Spain and Portugal, both of which carried out their conquests with only three goals in mind: God, gold, and country. God meant converting, most often forcibly, as many outsiders as possible to Christianity. Gold was the simple desire for material wealth, which, if one were to stay in keeping with the time's trend of mercantilism (the economic theory that held that the prosperity of a nation depended upon its supply of capital), was necessary to maintain Europe's balance of power. Country was an extension of thisthe idea was to expand each country's empire and enrich its coffers.
Gonzalo Fernandez De Oviedo, in his memoirs and histories, gives a detailed account of Spain's expeditions into North America, and his narratives highlight interactions, more accurately described as farcical antics, between the Spaniards and the Native Americans.
[...] Peter, and by extension, the Pope and the Spanish King, both of whom, of course, are ordained by God. In fact, the Requirement is rather contradictory, for it first says that the Native Americans will not be forced to convert, and not forced into slavery or brutality, but in the subsequent paragraph explains that those who do not recognize the highness of God and the Church will be swiftly moved against—that is, they will be enslaved, robbed, hurt and ultimately, killed. The Requirement isn't at all meant to protect Native Americans—rather, it serves as a fabricated legal document that the Spaniards can refer back to when they need an alibi. [...]
[...] Additionally, there was simply a history of anti-Semitism, or rather, the desire for homogeneity—sprouting innocently enough from the branching off of Christianity centuries earlier. There existed a spheres” mentality—Jews kept to themselves, in their own communities, and Christians did the same, while the latter group made attempts to marginalize the former. The pre-modern period, then, was certainly not a good one in terms of equality and cooperation between Westerners and everyone else. Unfortunately, a mentality of Western superiority persisted for many centuries, and, [...]
[...] And Aroya was certainly not unique among the captains in this sense. Another captain, Captain Escuerdo, feeds two important Indian chiefs to his dogs during one of his expeditions. When he returns from his trip, he is admonished, but not because he inflicted torture, but because he failed to return with an adequate sum of gold. However, as he had paid off one of the judges far beforehand, he manages to escape a sentencing. Law operated on a basis of corruption—Native Americans had no rights. [...]
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