Moreover, the Spaniards found their first American conquests too easy, and the rewards of these too great. This prevented all thought of developing the country through industry, concentrating expectation solely upon waiting fortunes, to be had from the natives by the sword or through forced labor in mines, Their treatment of the aborigineswas nothing short of diabolical. Well has it been said: "The Spaniards had sown desolation, havoc, and misery in and around their track. They had depopulated some of the best peopled of the islands and renewed them with victims deported from others. They had inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of the natives all the forms and agonies of fiendish cruelty, driving them to self-starvation and suicide, as a way of mercy and release from an utterly wretched existence. They had come to be viewed by their victims as fiends of hate, malignity, and all dark and cruel desperation and mercilessness in passion. The hell which they denounced upon their victims was shorn of its worst terror by the assurance that these tormentors were not to be there. Las Casas, the noble missionary, the true soldier of the cross, and the few priests and monks who sympathized with him, in vain protested against these cruelties."
To all these causes we must add the narrow colonial policy of Spain.
Imitating Venice and ancient Carthage instead of Greece, she held her dependencies under the straitest servitude to herself as conquered provinces, repressing all political or commercial independence. A similar restrictive policy, indeed, hampered the colonies of other nations, but it was nowhere else so irrational or blighting as in Spanish America.
See also: 1565


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