The Lust For Discovery History Essay

Scholars disagree on the exact sum of the Native population prior to European contact. A conservative estimations place the figure 12 million in 1500 ( Churchill ) . Regardless of the existent initial figure, an official nose count taken in 1900 found that there were 237,000 Native Americans in the United States. Churchill suggests that this population diminution is grounds of the largest and most sustained race murder on record ( Churchill ) . Another bookman Stannard claims the destiny of the Native Americans to be the “ worst human holocaust turn overing across two continents and devouring the lives of 1000000s ” ( Stannard ) .

Christopher Columbus is credited with adding the American continents to the consciousness of the Old World. His policies and thoughts would finally model European-Native dealingss for several centuries to come. Upon his 3rd ocean trip to the New World, Columbus and his work forces already slaughtered, kidnapped, and attempted to change over indigens that they came in contact with. The work forces were left with undertaking of colonising and kill offing anyone and anything that got in their manner. Columbus himself forcibly transported 15-20 indigens back to Spain. Merely 8 were known to hold survived. From the start Natives were portrayed as barbarians in demand of chastening. The colonists took dwellers of each new island they encountered and forced them into bondage. By some histories, the Natives were routinely murdered, tortured and deprived of necessities. Although records suggest that Spanish settlers played a big factor increasing the decease toll, the most effectual slayer was pathogens carried by Europeans “ in their blood and in their breath. ”

Diseases from the Old World wreaked mayhem on the Native populations. The consequence of this transportation was the spread of contagious diseases that proved lethal for the dwellers with no natural unsusceptibilities to foreign pathogens. Among these viruses were smallpox, typhoid, whooping cough, xanthous febrility, cholera and poulet syphilis. In some instances these disease decimated full small towns. The most deadly of the pathogens introduced by the Europeans was variola, which sometimes incapacitated so many grownups at one time that deceases from hungriness and famishment ran every bit high as deceases from disease ( beginning ) . The extremely contagious nature of these diseases allowed them to go across land and spread along trade paths, taking to the decease of infinite Natives without even puting eyes on a white adult male. It must non be overlooked that Natives were non the lone 1s affected by new diseases. Biological records indicate that the spread of pox that killed around 5 million Europeans can be traced to initial New World contact. ( Source ) Evidence suggests that Columbus ‘ work forces contracted the sexually familial disease from Native adult females that they had sexually assaulted ( beginning ) . This decision was reinforced when syphilitic lesions were found in bony tissues of pre-Columbian native skeletons ( Source ) .

The dream of wealth and prestigiousness persuaded more adventurers to acquire involved. Hernando de Soto led his work forces on an expedition deep into the present twenty-four hours United States 1539-1543 seeking for gold a transition to China. De Soto and his work forces were believed to be the first Europeans to traverse the Mississippi River ( Source ) . Continuing in hostile traditions and farther increasing tensenesss between Whites and Indians, the expedition frequently clashed with the people in their way. In 1540, one chronicler reported over 3,000 Indians were killed in Mabila merely north of present twenty-four hours Mobile, Alabama where De Soto ‘s work forces set fire to the small town ( Source ) . The expedition besides brought a herd of swine from Cuba. The debut of the hogs particularly had drastic effects for Native American husbandmans. The several hogs left by De Soto quickly multiplied and began eating full harvests and nutrient shops. The Indians struggled in battling these new plagues and many succumbed to famishment after the hogs decimated nutrient supplies ( Source ) . The swine ‘s ability to destruct native agricultural harvests coupled with their competition with other species of wildlife for difficult and soft mast harvests ( Source ) . The Indians compensated by trying to eliminate the freshly introduced plagues. It is ill-defined merely how many Indians interacted with the swine but by “ violent death, stealing, slaughtering and eating merely one hog could do Southeast indigens become receivers of parasites that cause undulant fever, splenic fever, trichiniasis, cysticercosis, and TB ” ( Galloway, 2006 ) . Again European force could non compare with the far making appreciation of disease. The parasites carried by the hogs easy spread from animate being to animal, infecting cervid and Meleagris gallopavos, the Indians other chief beginnings of meat ( Source ) . The ensuing epidemics affected major population centres were found deserted due to decease and others trying to outrun it. The following major moving ridge Europeans would besides go forth their grade on the autochthonal population.

Puritans arrived at Plymouth Rock and ab initio tried to keep a friendly relationship with the Indians. The local people traded Pequot folk. “ The Puritans believed themselves to be culturally superior to the indigens, but since the chief difference was one of faith, the indigens, were for case the topics for conversion- societal and religious- instead than extinction ” ( Freeman, 1995 ) . The relationship became strained in 1636 after the slaying of several settlers. Following this event, members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony often engaged in conflict with the Pequot. During these tense affraies the Indians routinely anguished captives of war, frequently mistreating captives to demand retaliation for the folk ‘s losingss. ( Source ) This barbarous intervention reinforced the thought that they were barbarians. Settlers retaliated by fall backing to similar tactics for the intervention of their ain and the Indian ‘s extended usage of scalping. This type of force was profoundly ingrained in Pequot civilization where courage was valued above all else. The act of give uping to an enemy during combat came in direct contrast with this position and the Indians showed small clemency to the captives who were seen as weak or cowardly. Prisoners were either adopted into the folk or humiliated with penalties designed to expiate for the deceases within the folk ( Source ) . The Pequot were besides known to prosecute in cannibalising the captives of war and salvaging fingers, toes and olfactory organs as trophies ( beginning ) . With the force escalating, a group of soldiers from Connecticut and Massachusetts sought to revenge the losingss of fellow settlers. The English mobilized a troop of 90 under Captain John Mason and along with 70 Narragansett Alliess. Mason subsequently wrote that they had “ once concluded to destruct ( the Pequot ) by the blade and salvage the loot ” ( Source ) . The soldiers surrounded a Pequot small town in Mystic, Connecticut and burned it to the land. 900 work forces, adult females and kids were known to hold been killed ( Source ) . The onslaughts continued with the English torching small towns they came across. Finally with their population Numberss badly diminished, the staying Pequot fled in little sets to seek safety with other native populations. The English had virtually annihilated an full state. William Bradford, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony defended the actions of the soldiers when he wrote “ I would mention you to David ‘s war. Sometimes the Scripture declareth adult females and kids must die with their parents. We had sufficient visible radiation from the Word of God for our underpinningsaˆ¦ It was a fearful battle to see them frying in the fire, with watercourses of blood slaking it ; the odor was atrocious, but the triumph seemed a sweet forfeit ” ( Source ) . ( beginning ) believes that the actions of the English and the indorsement from Bradford although distressing, do non look to hold genocidal purpose ( Source ) . Revenging the deceases of fellow settlers was seen as merely cause and the close extinction of the Pequot was seen as a effect of war. Some bookmans charge the Puritans with race murder because of the premeditated program to destruct the Indians. They suggest tactics congruent with “ entire war ” and the indorsement of the violent deaths from the governor as grounds of race murder ( Source ) . Other bookmans disagree as Jennings ‘s asserts that “ to construe these events through the radicalizing polemist of accusals of race murder is to rewrite history to fulfill our ain moral indignation ” ( Jennings, 1975 ) . The usage of fire as a arm of war was non unusual for either Europeans or Indians, and every modern-day history emphasiss that the slaughter of Mystic was an act of self-defense, non portion of a pre-planned slaughter. In ulterior phases of the Pequot war, furthermore, the settlers spared adult females, kids, and the aged, farther beliing the thought of genocidal purpose.

The first known happening of so called “ biological warfare ” was recorded in 1763 when William Amherst, Commander-in-Chief of all British forces in North America, corresponded with Colonel Henry Bouquet. The subsequent letters laid out programs for intentionally distributing variola among Indians. Bouquet writes “ I will seek to inoculate the “ American indians ” with some covers that may fall into their custodies, and take attention non to acquire the disease myself. ” Amherst answered: “ You will make good to seek to inoculate the Indians by agencies of covers ” ( Fenn, 2000 ) Although the letters express captive research suggests that Amherst is non to fault for source warfare because the really program discussed in his missive had already been carried out at Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania. Some arguments have arisen on whether or non infection was the express end of the English but Fenn suggests the “ eruption of epidemic variola in the Ohio state coincided closely with the distribution of septic articles by persons at Fort Pitt. The timing was eldritch ” ( Fenn 2000 ) . The pattern of wittingly administering infected vesture to Indians continued in 1837 when U.S Army officers distributed smallpox infested covers among Mandan Indians populating following to Fort Clark. The Army officers sought a pact with the Mandan and offered the covers as gifts ( Source ) Army physicians so hoarded inoculations and encouraged infected Indians to fly so the disease would distribute quickly and kill more Indians ( Churchill ) . He goes on to reason that these deceases must be considered portion of the overall form of race murder against the Indians, even naming it a policy of biological warfare. The moving ridges of epidemic disease that afflicted the autochthonal populations during several centuries, he writes, “ were intentionally induced, or at least facilitated, by the European encroachers. It was exactly malice, non nature, that did the title ” ( Churchill ) . Other bookmans disagree with Churchill ‘s decisions. “ While the Mandans and other Indians of the Upper Plains did endure dreadfully from the smallpox epidemic in 1837. There is no grounds to bespeak that the infection was nil but inadvertent, or that the U.S. Army was in any manner involved ” ( beginning ) . What is known is that variola made its manner up the Missouri River aboard the St. Peter ‘s infecting people along the ships trade path ( beginning ) . The disease appeared among folks along the southern part of the river and dispersed north toward the Mandan at Fort Clark. Equally many as 100,000 or more human deaths resulted from the 1836-40 variola pandemic. ( beginning ) . The averments that disease was intentionally spread on behalf of the authorities seems to come into struggle with the plan designed to immunize the native population. Smallpox inoculation for American Indians was foremost ordered in 1801 by President Thomas Jefferson. The plan continued with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark where Jefferson encouraged the adventurers to immunize American indians they came into contact with. Thornton suggests “ inoculation of American Indians did finally win in cut downing mortality from variola ” ( Thornton, 1990 )

Although it is believed that 90 per centum of Native American deceases were the consequence of disease there is no uncertainty that the United States is blameworthy in legion slaughters throughout the 1800 ‘s. The series of struggles between Native Americans, white colonists and the U.S. ground forces during this clip period are normally referred to as the Indian wars. The encephalon kid of Andrew Jackson these struggles were designed to coerce Indians to give up their lands and retreat onto reserves. Jackson gained ill fame during the War of 1812 where he defeated the British along with several hundred Creek warriors. The first of these wars saw Jackson invade Creek districts in northern Alabama with Tennessee voluntaries and Indian Alliess ( Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee ) . For the coda of the arresting licking Jackson himself was reported to hold “ supervised the mutilation of 800 or so Creek Indian cadavers [ … ] cutting off their olfactory organs to number and continue a record of the dead, sliting long strips of flesh from their organic structures to tan and turn into bridle reins ” ( Stannard ) . The violent deaths continued as Jackson ‘s anti-Indian sentiment reached a febrility pitch. In 1817 Jackson engaged the Seminoles in Florida. Before having blessing from the authorities he invaded and strongly defeated the Indian attackers. Again he used similar tactics and burned over 100 places. He besides kidnapped 300 Seminole adult females and kids to utilize as slaves ( beginning ) . Jackson became president in 1828 and passed statute law that negated the maps of the staying Indian authoritiess. He urged that the folks should be willing to travel off their lands to avoid infringing colonists. During this clip there were several folks that attempted to pacify the authorities and replace their traditional manner of life with by emulating the Anglo manner of life. Among those five folks were the Seminole, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek. Some of these folks even implemented bondage, keeping African slaves. These civilised folks welcomed missionaries that offered instruction. They learned to read and even became better educated than some southern colonies ( Weeks ) . These efforts at cultural assimilation did small to delight the authorities or other member of society. In 1830, Congress enacted the Indian Removal Act. The end was to unclutter the manner for westbound enlargement and displace the Native Americans standing in the manner of advancement. He told the populace it was for their ain safety and the Indian remotion would challenge between the clashing civilizations. The pact offered $ 500,000 to tribes that would hold to yield their lands and travel westward. The money was intended to counterbalance the Indians for their journey and supply supplies that would do the journey possible. The first state to subscribe the pact was the Creeks who figured that the authorities would go forth them entirely if they relocated ( Source ) . However the corruptness of the disposal led to a hold of much needed rations. By 1834, 14 thousand had been removed. The Seminoles were less willing to compromise and give up their leftover districts in Florida, taking to yet another series of conflicts with the authorities. Desiring to avoid struggle the Cherokee attempted to take their battle to the Supreme Court. Through several judicial proceedings the Cherokee ended up winning their instance in tribunal, prohibiting the authorities from taking their lands. Jackson failed to implement the jurisprudence and pressured the folk to travel anyhow. He alleged that there was nil he could make and the staying folk should “ accept their destiny, cede their eastern district and travel West ” ( Weeks ) . Feeling defeated and betrayed, the Seminoles signed the pact and gave up their land. The Indian Removal Act continued into Martin van Buren ‘s presidential term where 17,000 Native Americans were rounded up and placed in detainment centres to expect their forced remotion. Here they were confined to keeping cells for several months until the Trial of Tears in the autumn. This March lasted 7 months where Natives were forced to walk through countries where epidemic diseases were rampant, and continued to walk in stop deading temperatures. They were fed rancid meat and spoiled flour. Because of these atrocious conditions, they merely averaged 10 stat mis a twenty-four hours, and buried about 14 to fifteen organic structures wherever they stopped ( Stannard 125 ) . The 1,000 mile trip ended in Oklahoma claiming the lives of 4,000 or a one-fourth of the initial population. Once at that place many Native Americans realized that the land was sterile and could hardly prolong a harvest ( Source ) . The forced remotion did small to halt colonists from spread outing due west. The find of gold California in 1848 prompted even greater Numberss of colonists seeking luck. Miners were openly hostile with Indians they encountered from the start. The rapid inflow of colonists to the West seashore found the Indians squeezed in between moving ridges of colonists. Indians were pushed onto the most sterile parts of the province and quickly deteriorated. Many died of famishment and others resorted to robbing farm animal. Indian adult females would fall back to harlotry, taking themselves from the birth rhythm ( Source ) . The province one time held a native population between 150,000 and 250,000. By the terminal of the nineteenth century, the figure had dropped to 15,000 ( Source ) . Feelingss toward Native Americans elsewhere in the West were non much better. Reverend William Crawford of Colorado reflected the positions of the white population. “ There is but one sentiment in respect to the concluding temperament which shall be made of the Indians: Let them be exterminated- work forces, adult females, and kids together ” ( Source ) . These sentiments prompted a group of voluntary militiamen, Commanded by Reverend John Milton Chivington, to convene at Sand Creek. Here the voluntary force surprised a big campsite of Indians and killed around 70 and 250 Indians dead, the bulk adult females and kids ( Source ) . These actions fell in line with one of Chivington ‘s favourite expressions, “ Nits make lice ” ( Source ) .

The belligerencies continued with Native Americans life in the Great Plains after the Civil War. Notable Union generals William Sherman and Philip Sheridan assembled Indian contending army units to coerce the Indians into entry. They applied the same tactics that were successful in Georgia and the Shenandoah Valley ensuing in entire desolation of Indian land ( beginning ) . The Indians proved a formidable enemy on the unfastened prairie so they were pursued into the winter. The heavy snows and stop deading temperatures limited Indian mobility and opposition. The Army so attacked and destroyed nutrient supplies. Sherman was reported to coin the phrase “ the merely good Indian is a dead Indian ” ( Source ) . The Army continued its run and went after the Plains Indians chief supply of meat, the American Bison.

Possibly the most annihilating act committed against the Native Americans was the straight-out slaughter of the American bison. For the Plains Indian life revolved around the American bison. Tribes would follow the herds as the migrated relying on them for nutriment, shelter, arms and vesture. At the beginning of the 19th century, there were an estimated 40 million American bison, but between 1830 and 1888 rapid extinction pushed the species into close extinction. These animate beings were killed for their fells and because they were seen as in the manner of westbound enlargement. Settlers going by train were encouraged to hit the animate beings for athletics. Prior to European contact the Indians hunted merely every bit many buffalo as they could eat. The colonists used the fells for robes and industrial machine belts making a immense demand in Europe ( Source ) . This gave manner to professional huntsmans who would kill as many American bison as possible. Bases of American bison were so legion that professional huntsmans, such as Buffalo Bill Cody, killed over a 100 animate beings at one clip and many 1000s in their calling. One professional huntsman reportedly killed over 20,000 by himself ( beginning ) . At one point General Sheridan urged that the authorities slaughter all staying American bison to stultify the staying folks who had non yet surrendered ( beginning ) . The terminal consequence of this extinction procedure was widespread famishment and the societal and cultural decomposition of many Plains folks.

In response to the of all time increasing figure of white colonists the Ghost dance motion became vastly popular among Native populations. The messianic motion believed that the Ghost dance would take colonists and return Indian land to the people. These actions were considered rebellious by the authorities and military personnels were sent to cover with the job. The confrontation came to a caput at Wounded Knee brook where an Army unit surrounded a Sioux small town. It is still ill-defined who fired the first shooting but at the terminal more than 300 Indians died ( Source ) . It must be noted that the authorities awarded 20 Decorations of Honor to soldiers present at the slaughter ( Source ) . The soldiers insisted that the end was to peacefully demilitarize the Indians and the violent death of adult females and kids was unwilled. This incident has been called the most good known instance of race murder of the American Indians but, as Robert Utley and others have suggested that Wounded Knee is best described as “ a too bad, tragic accident of war that neither side intended ” ( Source ) . Non battlers were mostly spared and lasting Sioux were taken to local infirmaries. The Acts of the Apostless of compassion following the slaughter dispute the thought that extinction was the direct end of the soldiers.

From 1880-1902 around 30,000 Indian kids were forcefully removed from their places. These kids were placed in embarkation schools where they were Christianized the kids and stripped their original heritage. During this clip the stating “ Kill the Indian, save the adult male ” became popular. In 1880 the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon began its operations. Here kids were taught vocational accomplishments and Christianity. The end was to supply the tools necessary for life in American society through forced assimilation. The commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs asserted that “ We must either contend the Indians, feed them, or else educate them. To contend them is barbarous, to feed them is uneconomical, while to educate them is humane, economic, and Christian ” ( beginning ) . The instruction procedure was far from humane where many instructors were really humbling and made pupils ashamed of their civilization. Throughout this procedure Native imposts, linguistic communication, and traditions were discarded and replaced. Children were forbidden from have oning traditional frock or hair and were punished for talking in their native lingua. Wrongdoers of this policy were capable to holding their oral cavities scrubbed with lye and chlorine solutions for even expressing Native words ( Source ) .

The Genocide Convention was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948. The United States ab initio hesistated and later joined the UN in 1986. Since the term race murder is now has a proficient and legal definition it is of import that the words are examined closely. Harmonizing to Article II of the convention, the offense of genocide consists of a series of Acts of the Apostless “ committed with purpose to destruct, in whole or in portion, a national, cultural, racial, or spiritual group as such ” ( Source ) This definition hinges on the word “ purpose. ” Many legal bookmans have suggested that motivation must be in topographic point for an action to be considered race murder.

The function played by intentionality in the Genocide Convention means that under its footings the immense figure of Indian deceases from epidemics can non be considered genocide. The diseases introduced by Europeans most surely wiped out native populations but the huge bulk of exposure was mostly unwilled. Similarly, military battles where legion noncombatants were killed should non be viewed as genocidal Acts of the Apostless because contending violent Indians was seen as a legitimate military end. The purpose was to get the better of the enemy, non take them from being. On the other manus, slaughters such as the one at Sand Creek, where both the culprits and their protagonists openly acknowledged a desire to destruct the Indians as an cultural entity, may so suit under the UN conventions definition of genocidal purpose.


The violent hit between Whites and America ‘s native population was likely ineluctable. Between 1600 and 1850, a dramatic rush in population led to monolithic moving ridges of out-migration from Europe, and many of the 1000000s who arrived in the New World bit by bit pushed westward into America ‘s apparently limitless infinite. No uncertainty, the 19th-century thought of America ‘s “ manifest fate ” was in portion a rationalisation for acquisitiveness, but the resulting eviction of the Indians was every bit unstoppable as other great population motions of the yesteryear. The U.S. authorities could non hold prevented the due west motion even if it had wanted to.

In the terminal, the sad destiny of America ‘s Indians represents non a offense but a calamity, affecting an unreconcilable hit of civilizations and values. Despite the attempts of unthreatening people in both cantonments, there existed no good solution to this clang. The Indians were non prepared to give up the mobile life of the huntsman for the sedentary life of the husbandman. The new Americans, convinced of their cultural and racial high quality, were unwilling to allow the original dwellers of the continent the huge preserve of land required by the Indians ‘ manner of life. The effect was a struggle in which there were few heroes, but which was far from a simple narrative of hapless victims and unmerciful attackers. To fling the charge of race murder at an full society serves neither the involvements of the Indians nor those of history.