Here I go introducing a debate of what was morally right or wrong when the Spanish conquistadors set foot on America and began destroying the Aztec Empire. As you all know the Spanish, with the help of many other European nations managed to conquer, assimilate, and annihilate the inhabitants of an entire continent within about 500 years. So, what do you think? Was if right or wrong?
I personally believe that the initial motives of the Spanish were noble. When they met Aztecs they were exposed to horrific sights. Thousands of prisoners were slaughtered for religious ceremonies at a time. Aztec priests specialized in killing their victim by cracking his or her sternum, cutting open their chest, and removing their heart in mere seconds. Along with that, the priests would skin women while they were alive and then wear their skin. The Aztecs showed excessive brutality in war (raping, flogging, etc). I could go on for paragraphs of the Aztecs evil ways.
So what did the conquistadors do when they saw what was going on? They reacted in the only way that they knew possible. Destroy the Aztecs. But how could a few hundred Spanish defeat any empire of millions? How could so few men stand up against tens of thousands of vicious Aztec warriors on a battlefield? The Spanish were aided by rebels; enemies of the Aztec empire. The war that destroyed the Aztec empire was initiated by the Spanish, but it was won by the enslaved Indians.
Now the cruelties that beset America after this war? Well, I debate that later.
To say it was justified for the spanish to destroy a people to save a minority of those same people hardships seems to be a logical fallacy. They died horrible deaths either way. Also, i'm pretty sure the spanish would have destroyed the aztects either way.
This is a perpetual problem when arguing for or against war. Do the incidental good things that come of war justify the enormous bad things? There may, of course be some question about which are the incidental goals and what the real aim of the war is, and this depends on who you ask. World War II was absolutely not waged to save the Jews or the Chinese; it was waged over resources. The US went into Iraq to secure a power base in an oil-rich region; Saddam Hussein may have been an asshole, but nobody can suggest the US Government has set out to rid the world of asshole dictators.
The Spanish went to the New World to find gold and open markets. If they happened to stop a few barbaric practices here and there, that's great, but it in no way justifies the fact that they executed far more of their own barbaric practices on the natives (genocide, missionary-ism, slavery).
I didn't make it!
It was right for the Europeans and wrong for the natives. Right and wrong are relative.
7th December 2003
I don't think saving the victims of ceremonial sacrifice (who belonged to tribes that probably had similar practices anyway) was really the goal of those Conquistadores.
But even if it had been their primary goal they could probably have managed to re-educate the natives instead of killing them and ended up with less people killed over all.
what the spanish did was the same as me killing my brother and you coming in and say thats wrong then you kill the rest of my family... then you take all my money and my house.
Meyerlifts;4930761 But how could a few hundred Spanish defeat any empire of millions? How could so few men stand up against tens of thousands of vicious Aztec warriors on a battlefield?
Guns, germs and steel.
Wanna go Double Dutch?
9th December 2003
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so are cultural "superiority" including rituals, religion etc.
For the people of north and south America the conquest was wrong (they got occupied, eventually driven away by force, murdered etc.) for the Europeans it was right as it gained them fortunate, knowledge (the whole "we discovered new land" ting) and so on.
But I guess ultimately colonization, occupation and conquest is wrong as it means.the supression and explotation of people and land. There is nothing wrong with exploration and trade though (not by definition anyway).
7th December 2003
This reminds me of a news article I read a while ago about natives in South America throwing spears at a helicopter. Those tribes apparently never had contact to the rest of the world and it was decided to keep them isolated as it is better for their culture.
I tend to agree with the "don't force your culture on others"-position, but it also seems a little extreme to withhold medicine and all the opportunities and the luxury of modern life from others.
I seem to recall there being alot more to the story than the Conquistador's killing off brutal savages.
Something about rebel tribes allied with the Spainards and someone's brother?