Nor is history static and fully known

Friday, June 16, 2006
Terrye mentioned above that history does not always repeat itself. I vaguely recall some famous historian once said something like, "History doesn't repeat but it does echo."

Part of the meme by which so many in the "West" justify what appears to be sheer hatred for their culture and a wish for its destruction is the notion that Western culture is responsible for essentially wiping out the indigenous populations - or at least the indigenous cultures - of entire continents: Africa, North America, South America.

Yet here (ht: Maggie's Farm) is a Mexican researcher who suggests that, as bad as Cortez and the Conquistadors were, it wasn't them and the smallpox they carried which obliterated the Aztecs. It may have been repeated epidemics of a native hemoraghic disease.

From Megadeath in Mexico:

Epidemics followed the Spanish arrival in the New World, but the worst killer may have been a shadowy native—a killer that could still be out there



4 comments:

terrye said...

I have to say, can we imagine any world today where the Aztecs would be ripping out the hearts of human sacrifices in Mexico City? Would we want them as neighbors? Think about it.

I read some time ago that a small isolated tribe of pygmies were found in Australia by an American anthropologist {I do not recall his name] who theorized that these people were actually there before the Aborigines and were driven almost to extinction by the Aborigines. Well, they did some DNA work on the few remaining and it turned out that they were cousins to certain Africans who must have walked there thousands of years ago on land bridges...they predated the Aborigines. So they were there first.

In Britain the only remaining true Brits are in Wales, most of the rest of the country is actually related to Vikings. According to a study done by the London University an ethnic cleansing of sorts took place in the 12th century.

Perhaps it is the nature of man to constantly displace other men. But it not something that westerners do and no one else does.

Skookumchuk said...

terrye:

How do you think Cortez managed to conquer them with only a few cannons and a few hundred men? It was because he had tens of thousands of Taxcalan Indian allies who were sick of being captured to serve as Aztec human sacrifices. So there must have been many important and unreported battles where no white men fought at all.

It is always difficult to disentagle motivations. The conquistador Bernal Díaz declared, "We came here to serve God and also to get rich". It could describe many of the other conquerors, too. About the getting rich part there is no doubt, but in Cortez's letters to Emperor Charles V and in the reminiscences of others, it is clear that what they saw of Aztec culture was powerful motivation in itself.

terrye said...

Imagine coming into a city that is larger than almost any city in Europe and it is smells like death from the blood seeping into the stones.

Long ago I read an account from a soldier who made it plain that the sight and smell of the Aztec capitol terrified these men. Think of the times they lived in and stories of evil spirits they had heard. We think about the effect Europe had on this world, but what effect would this world have had on them?

terrye said...

skook:

I had wondered about that. I mean how many men could have come here on those ships?