Forget World War 1, history's greatest genocide was ...

Europe’s “Great War” of 1914-1918 does not deserve to be called the “First World War.” That title should go to the first real global conflict, Europe’s genocidal invasion of other regions that began in the final decade of the 15th Century. European historians have sought to downplay the ferocity, extent and significance of that earlier conflict by treating it as a diffuse historical process, but if we who were victims accept that view it disables our understanding of everything that has happened since then.

As few Indians are likely to know much about what actually happened, let me recount some salient points.

A decade after Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492, its indigenous people were extinct. They had done nothing to deserve that fate; Columbus in a letter to his royal sponsors in Spain said they were “loving, uncovetous people,” with “good features and beautiful eyes,” who “neither carried weapons nor understood the use of such things.” Yet many were tortured to death in a vain attempt to get them to reveal non-existent hoards of gold and others worked to death or driven to suicide. Such gratuitous violence continued as Europeans extended their domains in the “New World.”

Many of the smaller tribes followed the Arawak of Hispaniola into extinction while the populations of larger groups fell by as much as 85 percent, victims not only of indiscriminate violence but of induced famines and new diseases to which they had no immunity. The spread of smallpox through blankets distributed free to Native Americans and the wanton slaughter of the great herds of bison on which the “Plains Indians” depended for food, clothing and shelter were the most outrageous cases of genocide. Estimates of the numbers killed range up to 100 million.

In South America, the Conquistadores engaged in a zestful mass murder that has no equivalent to this day. Bartolomeo de las Casas (1484-1566), a Spaniard who went to the New World for fortune but was driven by the atrocities he witnessed to enter the Church, left a vivid description in Brevissima Relacion de la Destruycion de la Indias (Short Report on the Destruction of the Indies):

“One time the Indians came to meet us, and to receive us with victuals and delicate cheer, and with all entertainment, ten leagues from a great city, and being come at the place they presented us with a great quantity of fish and of bread, and other meat, together with all they could do for us to the uttermost.” The Conquistadores put them all to the sword “without any cause whatsoever,” more than “three thousand souls, which were set before us, men, women and children,” committing “great cruelties that never any man living either have or shall see the like.”

“The Christians, with their horses and swords and lances, began to slaughter and practice strange cruelty among them. They penetrated into the country and spared neither children nor the aged, nor pregnant women, nor those in child labor, all of whom they ran through the body and lacerated, as though they were assaulting so many lambs herded in their sheepfold. They made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at one blow: or they opened up his bowels. They tore babes from their mothers’ breast by the feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks. Others they seized by the shoulders and threw into the rivers, laughing and joking … They spitted the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers and all who were before them, on their swords. They made a gallows just high enough for the feet to nearly touch the ground, and by thirteens, in honor and reverence of our Redeemer and the twelve Apostles, they put wood underneath and burned the Indians alive. They wrapped the bodies of others entirely in dry straw, binding them in it and setting fire to it; and so they burned them. They cut off the hands of all they wished to take alive. They generally killed the lords and nobles in the following way. They made wooden gridirons of stakes, bound them upon them, and made a slow fire beneath: thus the victims gave up the spirit by degrees, emitting cries of despair in their torture.”

Casas, writing as the Bishop of Chiapas, estimated that just in the Caribbean his compatriots had killed some 15 million Indians, leaving “destroyed and depopulated” the large islands of Cuba, San Juan [Puerto Rico], and Jamaica, and some 30 smaller islands.

read more: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-rea...ld-war/5395497