Reality of Colonial Exploitation and Slaughter of Indigenous People
The other day, Mr. Kihachiro Minamioka, the editor of the discussion periodical Gekkan Nippon, came to visit me with a thick book published by K&K Press, where he serves as a publisher. The title of this book is Awake, Japan! Modern History of Racial Aggression by the Great Powers. The author of this book is Mr. Yoichi Watanabe. I felt that everyone should be aware of this amazing work and so we are reprinting part of this book here. If you read this, you will learn about the extent of the cruelty of the white people, arriving in the Americas bringing guns and warhorses after acquiring voyage technology, who regarded non-Christian people of color as beasts.
This book tells the beginning of a hideous history spanning five hundred years from when Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean Sea. Leaving authenticity aside, this will make you feel sick, but first I would like you to give it a read for yourself. The following is the quotation from the book.
Chapter 2: Sixteenth Century
Section V: Complaint of Cruelty and Destruction: Report by Saint Las Casas
As I mentioned earlier, there were also a few conscientious people who resented and resisted the inhumane behavior of the white conquerors capable of brutality worse than that of animals and of the Christian clergy connected to them.
An example was Bishop Las Casas from Spain. Las Casas was a member of the clergy who accompanied other regular Spanish colonists and who participated in the conquest of the New World by Spain initially. However, he personally witnessed the inhumanity of the white conquistadors against the indigenous people in the New World. He thought that the innocent indigenous people should not have to suffer any more torment than they had. Therefore, he made a direct appeal to the King of Spain and the Pope. He then devoted his life to opposing the colonial policy of Spain.
The complaint titled Brief Report on the Destruction of the Indians that was written in 1542 by Las Casas exposed the reality of colonial exploitation and slaughter of the indigenous people by the conquerors that had set sail for the New World in the name of Christianity and culture. This is famous as setting forth the realities of the so-called “geographical discovery” of the New World by the white people. This report describes in detail the situation surrounding the invasion and slaughter of the indigenous people by the white people. I have printed part of the translation of this report by Hidefuji Someda of Iwanami Bunko to reveal just some of the atrocities committed by the Spanish conquistadors.
(Note) We have received the approval of Mr. Ichi in the Editorial Department of Iwanami Bunko to reprint this.
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A wide variety of events occurred after the feat of “discovering the New World” was accomplished and it became possible for Spaniards to go there to live. These were astonishing to the extent they seem almost unbelievable unless you saw them directly with your own eyes. Among these events, innocent people met with the bitter experience of extermination and many villages, regions and kingdoms were completely destroyed by the invasion of the Spaniards. There were also events that would horrify people even more than that.
Immediately after encountering obedient sheep (the natives), the Spaniards pushed through them just like wolves or lions driven wild due to hunger lasting a number of days. Over the past 40 years, Spaniards have determinedly driven away the natives with attacks, murders, torment, torture and ruin the likes of which people have never before seen, read about or heard of. For example, when we landed on Espanola Island (now Haiti), there were three million natives living there. However, there are now around just 200 remaining. Cuba is a large island (approximately 500km) with a distance comparable of that from Valladolid in Spain to Rome, but there are almost no people left alive there now. San Juan Island and Jamaica were also extremely rich and wonderful islands, but they have been devastated beyond recognition. There are islands called Gigante nearby to the north of Espanola Island and Cuba. You can also find the Bahamas Islands here that consist of more than 60 islands of varying sizes. Even the most worthless of the islands among these is richer and more wonderful than the orchard of the king in Seville. Moreover, these are places blessed by the best climate in the world. It used to be that 500,000 natives lived on these islands, but they are now completely uninhabited.
After annihilating the natives on Espanola Island, Spaniards dragged those living on the neighboring islands there. Eventually, during this, everyone was killed. In addition, more than 30 islands near to San Juan Island were completely destroyed by the same action.
If we turn to the vast Tierra Firme (the north coast region in South America), Spaniards have again devastated and destroyed this area with inherent cruelty and brutality. As a result, I believe that there is no longer anyone living there. A great many reasoned people once lived crowded together in this region and there were more than ten kingdoms larger than that of Aragon and Portugal added to the domain of Spain.
Territory of more than 2,000 legua (approximately 4,600km) equivalent to almost twice the distance between Seville and Jerusalem once extended out here. Over the past 40 years, I am quite certain that more than 12 million men, women and children have been killed inhumanely due to the outrageous and heinous atrocities committed by Christians. On the contrary, it would surely be no mistake to say that there have been more than 15 million victims.
The people calling themselves Christians who have come to the New World have employed two main methods to destroy and remove these poor souls from this world. One of these methods is illegal, cruel and bloody war. The other is a method in which native lords and brave men trying to regain their freedoms and escape painful torture are all killed with the survivors enslaved. This is a method that plunges these people into extremely harsh, terrible and intolerable conditions not even suffered by beasts.
There is just one reason why Christians have killed and destroyed so many people. I believe their final goal is to single-mindedly obtain gold. It is because they are attempting to make their fortunes in a short a period of time as possible. This is because they are gripped with desires and ambitions never before seen in this world. Furthermore, because the New World is a place with such fertility and wonderfulness, and because the people living here are extremely humble and patient, it is simple to enslave them. In fact, Christians have come to regard these people as lower than beasts and to treat them as shabbily. (It would still only be slightly better if they regarded and treated these people as beasts.) On the contrary, they only think of these people as feces fallen in a plaza, or something even lower than that.
It is terribly embarrassing to say this, but a Christian commander raped the wife of a king that boasted the greatest power on Espanola Island. Moreover, there are Christians who have started unprecedented acts by straddling a horse while holding swords and spears. They are breaking into villages to capture and completely tear to shreds the bellies of the young and old, pregnant women and those who have just given birth. This sight is no different to that of attacking a herd of cornered lambs.
They make bets about who can chop a body exactly into two with one stroke of a sword, who can decapitate a person with one blow and who can rupture a person’s intestines. They take suckling babes from their mothers. They then grab the legs of these children and smash them against rocks. There are also certain people who thrust down infants into rivers from behind with ruthless smiles. After hearing the sound of them falling into the water, they shout “now it is time to give swimming a try.” They also stab to death other infants with their mothers.
Some natives made the decision to band together and exact their revenge on the Spaniards. This is because it would otherwise be their fate to be killed by those lacking reasoning no matter how humble they act or how much they endure and put up with. However, the Spaniards have come fortified with weapons and are boasting horses. This means that the natives have no chance of winning. Accordingly, they have set traps for the horses of the Spaniards to plunge into. They have dug holes, filled them with pointed sticks and then camouflaged them with twigs and grass on top. However, the Spaniards have been able to see through this. They have captured natives in revenge and thrown them all into these holes. These holes are now full of skewered natives – including pregnant women, women who have just given birth, their children and the elderly. The Spaniards stab to death all the natives they capture. They then cut them up and feed them to ferocious dogs.
Furthermore, they made gallows nearly big enough for the feet to reach the earth and hung 13 people by their arms from it saying “this is to revere our messiah and his 12 disciples.” They then placed firewood underneath and set this on fire. They burned those natives at the stake while they were still alive. Moreover, there are believers who have tied dry straw around the bodies of the natives. They then set this on fire and burn them alive. In addition, Christians slash both the arms of natives without meaning to kill them. They then face the natives whose arms are barely clinging to them and order them to send a message. In other words, they are sending them to where the natives have fled to the mountains as an example. These Christians also place an object like a gridiron made with long and narrow bars on top of four poles driven into the ground. They then tie natives to these and start a low flame below them. The natives cannot bear such hideous torture and scream out in pain. They are then gradually killed with despair. There are those carrying out these executions that light the fire after thrusting sticks into the mouths of those being executed so that they are not disturbed by the loud voices of the natives being burned at the stake. The natives are gradually burned to death according to the desires of their captors. One day, a lone Spaniard set out to go hunting with four dogs. However, he was not able to find any game that day, so he felt for sure that his dogs must be hungry. He then snatched an infant from its native mother and cut its arms and legs to pieces with a short sword to give to his dogs. Once his dogs had eaten all the pieces up, he then fed them the small body of the infant.
Christians are no different to rampaging beasts; they are people striving to destroy the human race. They are the greatest enemy of humankind. The natives who escape from these extremely cold-blooded people protect themselves by confining themselves to the mountains or running away deep into the hills. Upon doing so, Christians turn their hounds into ferocious dogs to hunt out these natives. Once these dogs find even a solitary native, they tear him from limb to limb in the blink of an eye. The dogs attack and devour the natives with far more relish than when being fed pork.
There are extremely rare occasions when the natives will kill several Christians. However, such an act is one based on good reason and justice. Nevertheless, using this as an excuse, Christians have established a rule to kill 100 hundred natives for every Christian killed by a native for revenge.
When the Christian Governor-General reached a kingdom on Espanola Island, more than 300 lords came to see him with peace of mind in accordance with a summons that he had issued. However, the Governor-General had tricked them. He shut as many of them as he could in a large straw building. He then set it on fire and burned them alive. Everyone then stabbed the remaining lords with sticks or cut them with their swords and killed them all. In addition, when dawn began to break with innocent natives sleeping peacefully together with their wives and children, the Spaniards invaded their village and set the majority of their straw buildings on fire. It was too late by the time the natives realized that this was happening. The majority of the native men, women and children were burned to death while still alive. Spaniards slaughter the natives at their whim. The employ various methods of torture on natives they have captured alive to make them confess to the location of those with gold of the whereabouts of gold itself. Finally, they murder their captives. Moreover, if there are any survivors, they brand them as slaves.
The natives who have been turned into slaves are used in truly harsh conditions. Spaniards make the natives carry loads of three arroba (approximately 70kg) and link them together with chains so that they cannot get rid of them. On one occasion, just six out of 4,000 natives survived these hardships to be able to return home. The others all died during this work. There were a number of natives who became completely exhausted due to carrying such heavy loads or who succumbed to illness due to their hunger and this harsh labor. The Spaniards considered it too much work to remove the chains of the natives one by one at such times and so slashed them around their necks with their swords. Upon this, the necks and bodies of the natives tumbled down in different directions. I would like you to imagine what the other natives who had seen this sight with their own eyes thought.
I am a Christian, but I have witnessed countless people bring burned alive at the stake, being torn apart and being tortured. This kind of slaughter and destruction suffered by the natives has been innumerable. I don’t think it is possible for me to write it all down no matter how many writing brushes I have.
As I have described above, there were magnificent orchards in all the villages where the natives once lived. Therefore, Christians decided to live there. They made the natives cultivate this land and stole their meagre provisions to live. Christians made all the natives – young and old, male and female – live in their houses in order to put them to work without rest both day and night. Furthermore, if they made children, there were also occasions when they made them do utterly impossible work in addition to the work that can be done by children. In this way, Christians are destroying the natives. Furthermore, they are simply abusing the very few remaining natives. Christians have made the natives carry large boards and timber for shipbuilding. They make them walk 30legua (approximately 168km) to the harbor and make them fetch honey and wax from the mountains. There have also been cases in which natives have been bitten to death by jaguars in these mountains. Christians make pregnant women and women who have just given birth carry heavy loads as though they are dealing with beasts. This situation has yet to change.
This is just my declaration, but I have seen for myself hands, noses and ears of native men and women being chopped off at the whim of Spaniards in so many places it would be too troublesome to count them all. A Spanish outlaw forced his way into a small village in Peru and captured many natives. He then set his dogs on the lord and chief to tear them limb from limb. Moreover, he cut off both hands of many men and women. He then bundled these together in a rope and hung them from a pole. This was to show his revenge against other natives. It seemed like that there were 70 pairs of hands hanging from that pole. In addition, he also chopped off the noses of a large number of women and children.
As I have already mentioned, Spaniards have trained and tamed fierce, wild dogs to kill and rip apart natives in many lands. I would like people to know it is a fact that they connected many natives with chains and moved them around as feed for their dogs. The natives are seen as no different to a litter of pigs. Spaniards kill natives and then openly sell their meat. “I am very sorry, but can you lend me about a quarter of one of those guys – any one is OK – until I kill another one. I want to feed it to my dog.” They talk like this as though they are talking about lending or borrowing a quarter of a pig or sheep. Other Spaniards set out to go hunting in the morning with their dogs. When they returned to get their lunches, they asked each about the results of their hunts. One of them replied in the following way: “It was the very best. My dog killed and ate about 15 or 20 of those guys.”
The above are things I continually witnessed with my own eyes over 42 years. I came to see such crimes being committed by Spaniards. They ravage the land of the natives. They plunder, destroy and devastate it all. Spaniards have committed innumerable acts of violence, impropriety, plunder and abuse against the natives. In addition, they have taken part in incredibly terrible doings. They have slaughtered and annihilated the natives. The things I have described repeatedly up to this point only account for about one ten-thousandth of the similar acts that are still be committed in terms of quantity altogether.
(Brief Report on the Destruction of the Indians by Las Casas: Iwanami Bunko)
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Las Casas crossed over the Atlantic Ocean six times between 1514 and 1566 when he passed away. He played a central role in the movement to protect the freedom and right to life of the indigenous people in the New World.
Las Casas had an audience with the King of Spain Carlos I in 1541. He pleaded with the king to stop the conquest of the New World by submitting the above report that gave a detailed account of the injustice and misery suffered by the indigenous people, as well as the inhumane acts of the Spaniards. This report was slightly revised in 1546 and then printed in 1552. Later, Las Casas dedicated his life to saving the indigenous people by complaining about their unjust conquest, mass murder and the looting of their gold and silver by the Spaniards under the justification of doing it to convert them to Christianity until his last breath on July 18, 1566.
However, Spain banned all the works of Las Casas, including this report. The Spanish conservatives asserted that the cruelty of the Spaniards written about by Las Casas was a fabricated “black legend.” They attributed the responsibility for fabricating this legend to Las Casas and denied the historical significance of the report and its value as a historical document.
Awful Racism and Ethnic Cleansing Measures I Was Told About
The following is a story about when I visited Mexico in February 1973. I rarely saw those who looked like indigenous people in the country, so I asked my local guide about the racial composition in Mexico. My guide said that only very few indigenous people lived in the urban areas and that most are mestizos of mixed race with Spaniards. He said this was because all – other than those who fled to the mountains – the men were killed and the young women impregnated when the Spaniards came to the country with ethnic cleansing being the target. I recalled this when I read the Brief Report by Las Casas. Together with the murder of millions and millions of indigenous people and the destruction of their civilizations, many were killed by the infectious diseases (e.g. smallpox) brought by the Europeans. This is a horrifying story, but it is all recorded historical fact. It may be because human beings were capable of such acts that people in white society believe that the Japanese Army killed 300,000 innocent civilians in Nanjing or that 200,000 were forcibly taken as sex slaves and ultimately killed in Korea. However, the history of Japan – referred to as “cherish the harmony among people” – and the history of the Great Powers in Western Europe are completely different. The history of the world that we have learned about was made at the convenience of Christians and the post-war history of Japan is a falsification created by the GHQ. In that sense this book called Awake, Japan! Modern History of Racial Aggression by the Great Powers is extremely useful in understanding the true history. I hope everyone takes the chance to buy this book and give it a read.
Proofreading completed at 19:00 on March 23 (Wed), 2016
Awake, Japan! Modern History of Racial Aggression by the Great Powers by Yoichi Watanabe from K&K Press is available for 3,780 yen *This book can also be purchased on Amazon.