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The Spanish Black Legend, an honest perspective.

The 12th of October of 1492 an expedition captained by Christopher Columbus


arrived at Guanahani Island, being it the first land in the New World that was
sighted and visited by the Europeans. It was not only the discovery of America,
but the discovery of the man; the Spaniards, who were expecting to find a faster
way to India discovered something better, a continent that had little contact
with the rest of the world.
It was just the first step, but as the 16 th century keeps going, and the
exploration, conquer and colonization of America was being hold mainly by the
Spaniards, the Black Legend arise. The enemies of the Spanish Empire, mainly
England and the Netherland, started this propaganda attempting to damage its
reputation. Because of this Black Legend, Spaniards were seen as a fanatical
and cruel. The English and the Dutch, among others, created legends of
Spaniards feeding Indians to their dogs, burning alive people, and even cooking
kids and eating them.
This Black Legend was the product of the trade and geopolitical rivalry that
England and Netherland were having with the biggest power of the time, the
Spanish Empire. It is true that there were an ill-treatment done by all of the
European countries, but the truth is that, when Spaniards discovered America,
they also discovered a big amount of different cultures and new groups of
persons, and the treatment of them were better than others. The Spanish
Scholasticism of the 16th century started a sort of rudimentary Human Right
process, and the cornerstone of the International Law. We can find in that
School of Scholasticism figures like Francisco de Vitoria, Bartolome de las Casas
or Suarez.
Bartolome de las Casas became as early as 1515, the Universal Protector of All
the Indians promoting and achieving the rights of the Indians. Francisco de
Vitoria, asking himself about the indigenous of America in his book De Indis,
stated that there were humans like other. And Suarez, as a final example, stated
that we are all humans, that the world have Christian communities and nonChristian communities, but that there is unity on the human, so we cannot
violate their rights. This was the 16th century, when the Universal Declarations
of Humans Rights was not even a utopia, so this mean that the Spanish way of
thinking about Human Rights was far more advanced than any of the other
countries of Europe.
As English people like to say, actions speak louder than words. According to the
United State Census Bureau, at 2014 the United State population the 0.9% of
the U.S. population was from Indian American origin and 1% if we included the
multiracial. If we take a geographically close example from the U.S., we have
Mexico, were the 11% is from indigenous origin, and the most of the population
of the country is mestiza. We can find and Ibero-America countries with a higher
proportion of indigenous population among the total, like Guatemala, Peru,
Bolivia and Paraguay; or other with less, like Uruguay and Argentina, but the
tonic is general, Spaniards mixed with the local population.
Despite of this facts, this Hispanophobia seems not to be over in the AngloSaxons world. If this phobia, created by the hope of improving their power and
trade at the 16th century leaded to the Black Legend, now we can find that, at
least at the U.S. there is an English only movement that tried to eradicate

bilingual education, and that Spanish language is used as a joke, the known as
mock Spanish. But this is not the work of this paper, I just tried to prove that,
despite of the Black Legend, there were a movement that tried to improve the
Human Rights and that the conditions of Indian people were better in the
Spanish world, than any other contemporary countries, like England and
Netherland, proved by the legacy of Spain in America is a mestizo world of
mixed cultures and not exterminated, with just 1% of indigenous population,
and racists movements, that it is the U.S. of the 21th century.