Millions of individuals all over the world share and hold different religious, ideological, and cultural beliefs. These groups make up have existed through millenniums of cultural shift and societal changes; overcoming challenges from within their own communities as well as threat from outside communities. The constant threat from different communities can be driven from a multitude of different motivations; usually involving some kind of personal or economic gain for the specific country (or region) or ruler.
And while it isn’t an uncommon occurrence for a society to face upheaval by a neighboring society, many live neighboring in relative peace with little grievances. The histories surrounding the interactions between the Europeans and the Native Americans, Europeans and Asians, and the Europeans and differing African countries are prime examples of how nations or cultures can target other nations or cultures for varying reasonings. While the exploitation of different cultures is an abhorrent practice, it is one that many societies participate in when there are weaker counterparts with some economic or personal gain that could be obtained.
The Atlantic Slave Trade is an example of the exploitation of another more vulnerable region, by the Portuguese. During the Portuguese quest for Vasco de Gama to reach India whilst sailing up the African coast, he established connections with Africa; dominating city-states, their merchants establishing themselves in sub-Saharan trade (Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters 698). Creating connections for further manipulation when needed; and when demand for slaves came about, it was suddenly a matter of when people would start to be kidnapped.
Thousands of the African population were ripped from their home countries, and in exchange given no basic human rights. This was in the anticipation that the buying and selling of African Slaves would be as described “one more way to make a profit in an increasingly commercialized world (Class reader, yuriy Malikov).”
Spanish expansion and the expeditions of Columbus into the Americas is one example of a more powerful technologically advanced nation violating what is in no way an equal adversary. For, the Spaniards and Europeans were equipped with technological weaponry that the indigenous natives of the Americas had never witnessed before, pay rolled by the Spanish throne establish settlements and colonies in this newly discovered land. After the intrusive settlement of the Europeans into regions of the Americas already occupied by its native peoples, conflicts immediately arose. For, the new European settlers spent little time before trying to obtain the native’s lands and make permanent settlements in areas crucial to the survival of the natives. This without hesitation began a clash between the Native Americans and the new European settlers.
One settler, Edward Water house, stated “Victorie may bee gained many waies: by force, by surprize, [causing] famine [through] burning their Corne, by destroying and burning their boats, canoes, and houses, by breaking their fishing weares [nets], by assailing them in their huntings, whereby they get the greatest part of their sustenance in Winter, by pursuing and chasing them with our horses, and blood-hounds to draw after them, and Mastives [mastiffs] to teare them (Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters, 675).” This quotation from a European settler illustrates firsthand the malice with which the settlers and natives of the Americas treated each other after the begun settlement of people on an expansionist quest.
With the huge economic gain that could be foreseen from the vast expenditures of fertile farming lands available for the cultivation of cash crops, untouched precious mining potential, and excess of trapped fur-bearing animals, it is without question the Europeans would be gaining considerable wealth from the discovery of the Americas (Bentley & Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters, 676). With little regard, the Europeans intruded on Native American lands and begun to disassemble native American culture and way of life. For, the goal of the European settlers was not only to reap the profits from the totally uninfluenced society, but to convert them to Christianity, and in the building of colonies, to eradicate further the Native American culture.
The settlers were able to accomplish this through the arrival of Spanish missionaries, whose missions were to ultimately convert the Natives to Christianity, learning the indigenous languages in order to explain Christianity in understandable terms. And with the adaptation of the religion of Christianity followed customs shared by the Europeans. For a nation to implement their home religion and customs on suppressed peoples however is not a new concept; and happened with the conquest of Asians by Europeans.