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World History: Interaction of Europeans and Americans

For instance, Norton (et al., 2000) cites the ˘thousands÷ of Indians and other indigenous peoples of the Americas who ˘embraced Catholicism,÷ primarily because they were obedient and it was the religion of their conquerors (p. 25). Norton (et al., 2000) also uses statistics to prove the point that diseases imported by Europeans were responsible for wiping out ˘hundreds of thousands÷ of Indians and others in the Americas (p. 25). Norton (et al., 2000) also uses statistics to demonstrate the primitive navigation and mapping skills of European invaders, such as the difference between the 3,000 miles Columbus felt separated the continents and the more accurate 12,000 miles projected by many others of the era (p. 18).

There are a few unanswered questions, with some even highlighted by the author, with respect to European invasion and the devastation wrought on indigenous peoples of the Americas. For example, the Spanish explorer Soto was known for his brutality toward native villages he encountered. Cofitachequi used her brains and instincts to survive the invasion of Soto, helping save her people and village in the process. However, Lady Cofitachequi greeted Soto in a kindly manner and led him away from her people before escaping. Yet the reason why she did so remains unknown, but, as Norton (et al., 2000) maintains, ˘Whatever her reasoning, the strategy worked: Soto and his men moved on, and although they destroyed other villages and peoples, Cofitachequi survived to be recorded by Spanish, French, and finally English visitors÷ (p. 4).

There is a good deal of objectivity provided by Norton in this chapter. Though she does a thorough job of illustrating the devastating impact on indigenous peoples, the author makes the case that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were quite a warring and brutal people in their own right before the onslaught of the Europeans. For example, religious practices like bloodletting and human sa...

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