Prof. Kate Burlingham
02 October 2012
The European Expansion and Its Impact on Indigenous People
15th and 16th century European conquest in Africa and Latin America was significant for global expansion. Important areas such as the West African coast and Mexico were explored, making this period of time momentous. However, what was even more noteworthy were the similar methods that the Europeans used while intruding upon both the foreign lands. The Europeans showed little respect towards African and Native American people and their values; they resorted to inhumane tactics such as a creating a slave trade through Africa and committing a massacre to decolonize the indigenous people of Mexico.
The exchange of slaves from Africa quickly became an essential part of commercial trade between Europe, Africa, and the European colonies. The new colonies had a large economical void that could easily be filled through slave labor. The buying and selling of slaves was an inhumane process; not only were slaves taken from their families and forced to work away from their homelands, they were treated extremely cruelly and sold like mere objects in trade. A prime example of how little the traders cared for the well-being of slaves comes from Phillips’ excerpt, where he describes how slaves would often “[leap] out of the canoes, boat and ship, and [were] kept under water till they were drowned” (Thomas Phillips, “Buying Slaves in 1693,” 625), and the traders would move about their business like nothing had happened at all. The slave trade was essential to the growth of European colonies, but it is also remembered for the cruel treatment of the slaves involved.
The exploration of Mexico can be characterized as a brutal and bloody journey, especially for the indigenous people. At first, the encounters between the Spaniards and Aztecs were respectful and friendly. According to Diaz, Hernan Cortes implied to Montezuma when they first met “that [they...
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