Vida teatral en Córdoba (1602-1694): autores de comedias,
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By 1560, 40 years after they performed their "heroic" service, the tribute extracted from the Huexotzincos by the Spanish was seven times what the Mexica had obtained from them.� The deal that Cort�s made with the Tlaxcalans was that they would never have to pay tribute at all.� Tlaxcalans eventually fared much the same, as the city of Tlaxcala collapsed from about 300,000 when Cort�s arrived to only 700 people a century later.� Europeans replaced Mesoamerican elites, and all natives were reduced to peasants, with lucky mestizos forming the professional class, although there was more migration into the European class by natives in Mexico, and more adoption of native ways, than the rest of Spanish America.  Europeans honored their agreements when they were convenient or served their interests, but when an agreement obstructed European desires, it was not worth the paper it was printed on.� Europeans would always find a legal rationale, no matter how strained, to justify their behavior.� They backed up their legalistic arguments with deadly violence.� Occasionally the most abusive Spaniards would find themselves being imprisoned for crimes against the natives, but that treatment was reserved for either the most evil of the lot or those with political enemies.  � The crown-sponsored residencias and audiencias investigated the conduct of New World officials such as Cort�s.� The tribunals recorded many allegations and evidence of misdeeds, which historians have used ever since.� While such investigations may seem to reflect the Spaniards' “just” nature, and indeed “justice” seemed to be served at times, the residencias were mainly used to trim the power of those posing the greatest threats to Crown authority.  Fraud, corruption, and exploitation were the facts of life in colonial Mexico, and natives always bore the brunt of it.  � The legal system was rigged to favor the Spaniards.� One of the few honest lawyers in New Spain suggested a method to reduce the fraud and corruption: keep Spanish lawyers out of the natives’ business.  � European cultural practices could be found in many facets of the colonial experience.� Although Montezuma had a hunting island, the aristocratic "hunts" of Europe made their appearance, which used thousands of natives to flush the animals out to be slaughtered at leisure by Spaniards trying to act like European lords.  Before the mid dle of the 17th century, the native population in Mexico bottomed out at perhaps less than ten percent of the pre-conquest population.  � After that, it began a slow recovery.� After studying what the Spanish did to the Caribbean and periphery, what they did to the Aztecs and Mesoamerica, what they did to the Incas and South America, their “explorations” into North America, what the Portuguese did to Brazil, and after looking at the death rates in the mines, plantations and periphery, I estimate that more than 10 million natives died as a direct result of the violence and greed of the Spanish and Portuguese during the 1500s, and perhaps even 20 million (in Alexander Del Mar's A History of the Precious Metals, he estimated 20 million deaths in the mining operations alone).� Some can argue for as few as ten million (while others argue that there were not ten million natives in the whole hemisphere), and others can argue for as many as 30 million.� European diseases killed off another 50 million natives or so in the 1500s, and the Spanish and Portuguese labor practices probably contributed substantially to those 50 million deaths.� It is within the range of modern estimates to say that the New World’s human population declined by 90% during the first century of the European invasion, or by about 70 million people, and even the low end of the modern estimates have around 30 million natives dying, for "only" a 75% depopulation.� It is an immense tally, with nothing in world history to compare it to.
Publisher: Tamesis Books (July 16, 2008)
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