The invasion of the Americas: Part Three

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IN the Americas the conquistadors committed the worst crimes against humanity. They committed robbery, rape, kidnap and murder.
For this, they were well rewarded and backed up by the monarchs of Spain and Portugal and also the Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church played a significant role in the politics of the time. During the Dark Ages of Europe, the Roman Catholic Church had been seen in a negative light by the Barbarians, the Spaniards and the Portuguese.
Although the monarchs of these lands had maintained their loyalty to the church, the people were so influenced by Moorish culture that they converted to Islam or simply preferred to be associated with the Moors.
The Romans had been chased away from the lands of Judea and the Mediterranean Sea by the Moors.
By 1000 CE, the idea of returning to Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea became popular among the European nations.
The Pope saw this as an opportunity to win back popular support.
He went on a propaganda campaign which suggested that all people who were not Catholics were infidels.
Soldiers fighting on the side of the Catholic Church were described as fighting a holy war.
From then on the crusades promoted as holy wars by the Pope started.
Anyone who wished to go to war would consult the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church would summon individuals and take away their property in the name of the Church.
The loot would be given to the troops who would have asked for supplies.
They took livestock and even women from anyone.
By 1455 the Portuguese and Spanish monarchs were beginning to see potential for greater influence in the world after the downfall of the Moors.
They travelled to Italy to see the Pope.
They told him confidently that they felt they were now close to overcoming the Moors in Granada.
They also said that they were going to be the next world power as they were already winning colonies in Africa.
In the case of the Portuguese, they meant the colony of Sao Thome, in West Africa which they had colonised in 1415.
The Pope then said to them, “You are both authorised to reduce to servitude, all infidel people.”
Thus it is safe to say the Catholic Church had a supreme role in the invasion of the Americas because all the players had been fuelled by the authority they had been given by the Catholic Church to subdue the non-Catholic world.
The Catholic Church counted God-believing people like Muslims and Africans as infidels simply because they were not Catholic.
After settling in the Americas, the Europeans would become slave masters.
South American slave masters practised miscegenation openly and thus a coloured race emerged in South America which today is known as ‘Latino’.
The first settler whites were there mostly to source raw materials and that entailed starting sugar plantations in states such as Brazil and sending it to Europe after harvest.
Fish too was targeted by the European market and the clear water with underwater vegetation and an abundance of fish that they had found in the Americas would fall victim to overfishing.
They brought with them sheep, goat, cattle and chicken.
These would prosper in health and numbers in the Americas in a way they had never done in Europe because of the better land and climate.
The Europeans sent back parrots, beavers and chilies from the Americas.
The demand for badger fur got so high at some point that beavers almost became extinct as a result of their trade.
The ancient Americans also had bred some good and unique tobacco in those lands. They also invented pipes to smoke the tobacco.
The European settlers then started tobacco plantations in the Americas to supply the European markets.
The population of the indigenous Americans dwindled from the numerous attacks by the conquistadors.
After 50 years of killing off the black indigenous people of the Americas, the conquistadors were now claiming that there were no more inhabitants in the land. The survivors had gone into hiding and they had deserted their strong cities because they could not just wait there to be killed.
The Americas had now become world renowned for their supplies of tobacco, sugar and rice.
However, the plantation owners were now having the problem of labour shortages.
A system was developed in Europe which gave prisoners a chance to freedom if they worked on the plantations of the New World for a certain period of time. Ships of prisoners would be sent and the white prisoners would work on the plantations until they were granted their freedom.
Others had to work until their shipping costs were paid for and then they were freed.
Until 1661, slavery was not permitted in the New World because many of the settlers considered themselves Christians.
There was one group which reversed this ordinance and worked very hard to legalise slavery in the Americas.
These were the Jews.
The Jews had been expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497.
Europe was going through a thorough form of ethnic cleansing and it was not just the Moors who were victims, but the Jews, too.
The Jews had been very active during the Moorish period and had a big hand in the trade of barbarian slaves in the Moorish markets.
When the Europeans overpowered the Moors, they forced all Jews out of that area and a number of them settled in Holland.
Thus the Dutch nation of Holland was subjected to significant Jewish influence. The Jews formed a company called the Dutch West Indies Company which would be a vehicle of the exploitation of the resources of the New World.
In 1654, a Jew from Holland named Jacob Barsimson immigrated to New Amsterdam in New York.
In the next decade, many other Jews followed and most of them settled in Newport. The Jews opted to open new ground in the new world rather than to make concessions with the European governors in the already conquered areas.
At this time there were no restrictions to trading with the Indians and thus the Jews brought cheap glass beads, earrings, textiles and arm bands from Holland which they would trade for precious fur from the Indians.
Hayman Levy was the first Jew to establish trade with the Indians and later he was joined by Nicholas Lowe and Joseph Simon.
Nicholas Lowe suggested that they trade rum and whiskey with the Indians and not long after that, 22 distilleries were set up in Newport and they were all Jewish owned.

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