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THE TAINOS: GUILTY

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by

Luka Berman

on 9 April 2015

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Transcript of THE TAINOS: GUILTY

While it was the Tainos who ultimately suffered, they brought about their own downfall: they must have known of Columbus' intentions, and yet acted welcoming and unknowing throughout their first encounter with the Spaniards. Because they were aware of what he planned to do, they should met him, personally, with stronger opposition. Instead, they let him return to Spain while killing all 39 of the men he left behind.
“They
[the Tainos]
will give all that they do possess for anything that is given to them, exchanging things even for bits of broken crockery."

Exhibits A and B
Exhibit C
Conviction
The Tainos were not the first inhabitants of the New World that Columbus encountered. For that reason, they should have been aware of his harmful intentions: the Tainos were widespread and powerful, and it seems more than likely that they we indeed aware of what Columbus planned to do. However, they met him with generosity and welcoming hearts, convincing him that they would be easily turned into slaves and gold miners.
(Class Document: "The People vs. Columbus")
Columbus established a settlement (La Isabela) in northern Hispaniola, in roughly 1494. He quickly demonstrated his harmful intentions, claiming the land of the Tainos his own, and turning the people into slaves. Columbus and his men were far outnumbered by the Tainos: therefore, knowing his evil intentions, they should have killed him. Instead, they foolishly let him go. Columbus returned shortly thereafter with 17 ships (as opposed to 3), and thousands of men, making it much more difficult to stop the invasion of the Spaniards. Because the Tainos far outnumbered the Spaniards, they should have been able to organize themselves and put an end to Columbus' voyages. In their fear, they lost all sense of fighting back, even though they should have been able to easily defeat the Spaniards.
(Class Document: "The People vs. Columbus")
The Tainos did, ultimately, kill 39 of Columbus' men: this occurred after Columbus himself returned for Spain seeking support. However, they failed to kill Columbus himself. Had they killed Columbus and his men before they returned to Spain, the entire ordeal would be finished: the Tainos would be able to regain control of their land. Instead, they killed the 39 men that Columbus left behind to control the settlement. Thus, the turmoil escalated when Columbus returned to find his men dead. Killing one man--Columbus himself--would have ended the struggle and the Spaniards would have returned to Spain.
(Class Document: "The People vs. Columbus")
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Background: First Encounters
The Tainos are to blame for their own demise.
Conclusion
EXHIBIT A: First Encounters
The Tainos were very welcoming and generous towards Columbus and the Spaniards.
They already were aware of Columbus' harmful intentions yet provided no resistance against him and his men.
EXHIBIT B: Failure to Retaliate
The Tainos were an organized society: however, when it was needed most, they failed to unite and defeat Columbus.
By the time they did begin fighting back, it was too late, because Columbus had already left and would return with thousands of armed soldiers.
The Tainos far outnumbered the Spaniards, and thus should have easily put an end to the conflict between the two.
EXHIBIT C: Killing Columbus' 39 men
After failing to kill Columbus himself (and doing so would have most likely prevented much further conflict), the Tainos killed the 39 men Columbus left behind to handle the settlement he had established.
Killing these 39 men was unnecessary, and only angered Columbus.
The Taino people of the Caribbean existed long before Columbus and the Spaniards arrived on New World soil in 1492. Though they were characterized by Columbus as less civilized than Europeans, evidence suggests that their civilization was, at its height, home to roughly 3 million people. And while the Taino civilization differed greatly from European civilization in its quality of life, evidence suggests that they made use of innovative agricultural methods: in addition, though they Tainos lacked a written language, they were very artistic, making beautiful pottery depicting life in their society. Thus, there is no doubt that when Christopher Columbus encountered the Tainos, or "Indians" as he referred to them, they were by no means uncivilized: Columbus was the visitor in their land, not the other way around. They had control over what occurred in Columbus' expeditions on their land, and yet handled the entire situation inappropriately. For that reason, they are responsible for their own downfall, for the killing of 39 of Columbus' men, and for creating extra turmoil in a situation that was within their control.

(Smithsonian Magazine: "What Became of the Taino?")
THE TAINOS: GUILTY
COLUMBUS' FIRST VOYAGE: Exhibit A COLUMBUS' SECOND VOYAGE: Exhibit B
The Tainos
were aware of
Columbus'
intentions: why,
then, were they
so welcoming to
the Spaniards?
Their generosity
and their failure
to retaliate
appropriately was
the source of their
downfall.
-Christopher Columbus, 1492 (from his personal journals)
ANIMATION:

https://www.powtoon.com/show/elJ30YdXgD8/columbus-and-the-tainos/#/



BIBLIOGRAPHY:

-http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/what-became-of-the-taino-73824867/?no-ist

-http://www.history.com/topics/exploration/columbus-controversy

-http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/exploring-the-early-americas/columbus-and-the-taino.html

-http://www2.uncp.edu/home/berrys/courses/pdfs/columbus_journal.pdf
Full transcript