Epidemics, Slavery, Massacres, and Indigenous Resistance 1492-1599


Columbus makes landfall

Columbus makes landfall on Guanahani (Caribbean name; Columbus names it San Salvador) in the Caribbean Islands and Bahamas in search of gold and slaves. In his letter to the Queen and King of Spain he reports: “The inhabitants … are destitute of arms, which are entirely unknown to them … they are very guileless and honest, and very liberal of all they have. No one refuses the asker anything that he possesses; on the contrary they themselves invite us to ask for it. They manifest the greatest affection towards all of us, exchanging valuable things for trifles, content with the very least thing or nothing at all … in order to win their affection, and that they might become Christians and inclined to love our King and Queen and Princes and all the people of Spain; and that they might be eager to search for and gather and give to us what they abound in and we greatly need” (Columbus, n.d.). On October 12, 1492, Columbus writes in his journal: “They should be good servants … I, our Lord being pleased, will take hence, at the time of my departure, six natives for your Highnesses" (Bourne, 1906). Columbus writes in his journal (October 14, 1492): “with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them." Columbus’ next voyage to the Americas would be focused on capturing Native people for the slave trade (Dunbar-Ortiz, 2014).

Traumatic Event

Settler Colonial Policy