Impact Of European Contact On The New World

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Describe the impact of European contact on the New World during the first fifty years after its discovery by Columbus in 1492.
In 1492, when Columbus set sail into the unknown and eventually found land he believed to be India, he was confused to find naked men greeting him. The native’s absence of clothes is quite significant because it seems from this moment on, Columbus viewed them as a people deprived of religion, customs and culture and therefore his lesser. He was somewhat disappointed to discover these naked savages without distinct characteristics, and during his time exploring the New World, made no effort to understand them. (Todorov, 1984)
These “savages” soon realised that the visitors that arrived were there to take over their lands, through means of force. (Peter J. Riga) The Indians appear to have at first, looked upon the Spaniards as Gods, those who had come from the heavens, and worshipped them such. This suggests a credible reason as to why they did not defend their territories aggressively at first. When it did become apparent to the Indians what exactly the Spaniards were doing i.e. destroying and pillaging their lands, they certainly weren’t overly enthusiastic. (Todorov, 1984) The occupation of the indigenous people and their lands that Columbus and his men ‘discovered’ was wrong in so many ways. It did not take long before matters such as slavery, disease, illness and exploitation were experienced by many of the natives. (Wendy R. Childs, 1994) The

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