Every October 12, on the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Day, the far-left takes the opportunity to accuse Spain of committing genocide in America.
Spain protected the Indians with laws and created chairs of their languages
Three years ago I already analyzed here how absurd that accusation is. Unlike other conquering powers, Spain established laws to protect the indigenous people of America, founded 23 universities open to that Amerindian population, and in them chairs for indigenous languages were created, printing books in pre-Columbian languages such as Nahuatl, Quechua, Aymara, Puquina … Today, unlike what happened in North America -colonized by the British and French-, in Spanish America there is a high percentage of Amerindian and mestizo population.
Those who accuse Spain of committing something similar to what Nazism did with the Jewish people, do so either out of absolute ignorance of history, or because ideology prevents them from accepting historical facts, or because perhaps they think that the Nazis created laws to protect Jews, opened universities to the Jewish population, and founded professorships in Hebrew and Yiddish, when what actually happened was just the opposite.
The Black Legend and its trivialization of the concept of genocide
Be that as it may, those accusations launched by the far-left imply a trivialization of the very concept of genocide, a concept defined by Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which thus qualifies “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Is the involuntary spread of diseases a genocide?
It is true that abuses were committed during the Conquest of America, but there was nothing similar to a Spanish genocide against the Amerindians, according to the characteristics indicated in the Rome Statute. Not even remotely. Aware of this fact, many leftists cling to the thesis that the Spanish genocide in America consisted of the contagion of diseases to the natives, ignoring that the involuntary contagion of diseases contradicts the very basis of the concept of genocide, which implies the “intent to destroy.”
Inadvertently spreading a disease is not even a minor crime, and if the far-left believes such a thing, one wonders whether it will accuse all those who have infected others with the coronavirus, starting with those who attended the feminist demonstrations on March 8, with injuries or homicide.
The isolation of pre-Columbian America and its immunological effects
Certainly, contagious diseases brought by the Spanish to the New Continent caused a demographic disaster, causing 95% of the deaths in that period. This was due, to a great extent, to the fact that the indigenous immune system was more defenseless against certain diseases (such as smallpox, influenza, measles, bubonic plague, diphtheria, typhus…).
This situation was due, to a great extent, to the geographic isolation in which pre-Columbian America lived. Let us remember, for example, that the black plague that ravaged Europe in the fourteenth century originated in Asia and reached the West through the maritime trade routes between the two continents. Until the Discovery of America, there were no such routes to the New World. Smallpox, much older, spread from ancient Egypt to Asia, Africa and Europe through trade routes, in fact being the pandemic that most seriously affected the indigenous population of America.
Spain brought the smallpox vaccine to Latin America
Significantly, the first great vaccination campaign in history began in Spain – the Balmis Expedition – traveling through America, the Philippines and China, in order to combat the smallpox pandemic. Taking this into account, the Black Legend promoted by the far-left is purely absurd, but if it is minimally coherent, will they accuse Egypt of a genocide due to smallpox and China of committing a genocide against Spain with the Covid-19?
Let us also bear in mind that the knowledge of diseases in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was much more precarious than now, which made Europeans themselves unaware of the contagion routes that still today, as we see with pandemic that we are experiencing and with current technological means, they are not so easy to detect. But all this seems to matter: after all, the anti-Spanish Black Legend is born of ideological prejudices and feeds on lies and propaganda, and its promoters care little about historical facts.
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