In his book, Born To Die, Cook explores the role that disease played in the European conquest of the Americas. Cook maintains that contrary to the Black Legend, so popular during colonial times and ever since, Old World diseases were immensely more successful than Spanish cruelty and atrocities in the conquering and subjugation of the indigenous peoples in the Americas.While not denying that there were atrocities committed by Spaniards, Cook insists that the deaths of so many native peoples cannot be attributed to the atrocities exclusively, since “there were too few Spaniards to have killed the millions who were reported to have died” (Cook 9). Cook also points out that native peoples died wherever they came into contact with Europeans, be they Portuguese, English, French, or Dutch. The popularity of the Black Death was due, in large part, to what was occurring in Europe at the time. This was the period of the Spanish Armada and the Inquisition. Other nations used the Black Legend to justify taking actions against the Spaniards “in Europe or within their overseas territories” (Cook 8).Cook begins his discussion where contact was first made: the island of Hispaniola. Within fifty years after contact, the native people… Read full this story
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