How Spaniards Could Treat Indians Savagery in the Age of the Enlightenment

Reading the book ???The Conquest of American: The Question of the other??? by Tzvetan Todorov, it becomes very clear that Spaniards treated Indians with such cruelty and savagery. Indians were not treated as humans; they were tortured and killed ???In order to be more secure, the Spaniards take him (Cazonci) prisoner; when they fail to obtain satisfaction, they do not hesitate to torture him and his family: they are hanged, their feet are scorched with burning oil, their genitals prodded with a metal rod??? (page 97). Indian women were raped, their children were abused; all were infected by foreign diseases. They also ???had carried off the wives and daughters of a great number of chieftains??? (Page 58). They did not hesitate to destroy the Indian history, religion, and tradition. According to the book, they ???burned the Mexicans??™ books in order to wipe out their religion, they destroyed their monuments in order to abolish any memory of a former greatness??? (page 60).
One may wonder why Spaniards even dared to treat Indians who were already settled in their land and were land owners of the American continent so savagery or even barbaric in the age of the enlightenment To answer this question, I would like to offer three different reasons. The first two reasons are drawn from the second chapter of the book: Conquest. While the third is drawn from my own understanding and interpretation of the readings, which might be briefly mentioned but not emphasized in this book.
1) Refraining to take action against the Spaniards: One of the main reasons that led to savage treatment of Indians by the Spaniards was the passive behavior of the Indians toward their invaders. I personally believe that their passive behaviors were mainly due to their strong beliefs in superstition (although the author does not use this word rather he says that the way of communication for Indians was between man and nature and not between man and man). Indians believed that ???the arrival of men greedy for gold and power??? was a ???network of natural, social, and supernatural relations??? and ???it always proceeded by omens, their victory is always foretold as certain??? (74). Indians refused to oppose the Spaniards because they thought ???they are taken for gods??? (95). They said ???where would they come from but from the heavens???. ???Why would the strangers come without cause???. ???A god has sent them, that is why they come??? (95).
2) Lack of unification between different Indian tribes: Another reason that can explain the Spaniards??™ savage treatments toward Indians is lack of unification between them. According to the book, ???Montezuma sends ten messages to the Cazonic to ask for help??? (94), however, he provided ???no active response to the Aztecs??™ request??? and said ???what purpose would I have in sending men to Mexico, for we are always at war when we approach each other, and there is rancor between us??? (95).
3) Lack of knowledge of Indians about their invaders: Indians had no knowledge of Spaniards. They did not know who they are, where they come from, what they eat, what type of weapons and animals they use, and most importantly they were unaware of Spaniards??™ intentions for occupying their land. Indians believed that ???the arrival of men greedy for gold and power??? was a ???network of natural, social, and supernatural relations??? (74). The Spaniards??™ behavior remains incomprehensible to them ???why do they want this gold These gods must eat it, that could be the only reason they want it so much??? (96).
These reasons combined can explain why Spaniards treated Indians in such savagery manner. It seems that combination of these factors exacerbated their position and made them weaker than what they really were. If one these factors were non-existent, it might have helped Indians in defending their land or dignity.

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