Columbus and Cortes Indians
The groups of Native Americans, though not well documented can however be found learnt from the writing of the early explorers such as Columbus who had first hand encounter with these groups of people and experienced their ways of life and social structure was largely comprised of fishing, agriculture and hunting. The weapons used by the natives compromised of the bow as and arrows, hooks and nets which were used for fishing as well as spears which were barbed while their sophistry in technology was to be found in the production of objects which included millstones, cloths and baskets which were woven. Their houses were pits which were burrowed into the earth and were covered animal hide and fur while their architectural prowess was in their creation of unique structures such as pyramids and temples (Leon-Portilla, 2006).
Native Americans are documented as having a considerable level of hostility though they were relatively less advanced societies. While some groups were generally peaceful, others were aggressive and considerably violent. This is a fact which is Columbus experienced on the islands of the Caribbean where he together with his men were attacked by the natives. Consequently, the aggressive nature of the natives in the Caribbean is further evidenced by the fact that they were constantly at war with their neighboring communities.
It is believed that religion and food were interconnected in the sense that while explaining the religious beliefs of the supreme gods, there were two gods to which the natives believed in. the first was referred to as Atabey (Yucahu’s mother) a goddess believed to be associated with fertility and fresh water. The second was Yucahu, a god who was associated with the sea and the cassava where the natives did their fishing and various other supplies of food. To that extent, the Native Americans were religious.
Cortes on the other hand, who led the expedition allegedly aimed at initiating trade relations with the indigenous tribes occupying the coastal regions of the Aztec with the view to conquering and subsequently colonizing the Indian American territories, encountered little resistance from the natives. Meso-America was famously referred to as one of the most sacred and as such the city had a small army given that the natives believed in the power of their gods (Crow, 1992).
The natives were not a warring community and were therefore not used to fighting like the Spaniards were. This shows that contrary to the common belief, the natives were not as aggressive as earlier thought. The natives therefore feared the Spaniards who took the advantage of the lack of resistance from the inhabitants to make them do their bidding (Chao, 1992). Such relationship was replicated throughout Europe and led to mistreatment of the natives in ways such as, forcing the natives to do hard labor such as forcing natives to look for gold, instilling fear among natives through punishments and blaming natives unfairly as well as enslaving the natives as well as forcing the natives to swear allegiance to the Pope and Spain.
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Leon-Portilla, M. (2006). The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico.
Boston. Beacon Press Books.
Crow and John A. (1992). The Epic of Latin America. Los Angeles, California: University of
Chao and Jesus J. (1992). Myth and Reality: The Legacy of Spain in America. Culture/Society
Opinion. Boston. The Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston Press.