Globalization from Christopher
Columbus and Vasco da Gama until today 1
(Translation from French: Jean-Pierre Schermann and Lorraine
Buckley, Coorditrad. Revised by Diren Valayden)
The beginning of Globalization goes back to the
outcomes of the first voyage of Christopher Columbus that brought him,
on October 1492, to the shore of an island in the Caribbean Sea. It
was the starting point of a brutal and bloody intervention of European
sea powers in the history of American peoples, a region of the world
that had, up to then, remained insulated from regular relationships
with Europe, Africa and Asia. The Spanish conquistadors and their Portuguese,
British, French and Dutch2 counterparts together conquered
the whole geographical area, commonly known as the Americas3 ,by
causing the death of the vast majority of the indigenous population
in order to exploit the natural resources (in particular gold and silver)4 .
Simultaneously, European powers started the conquest of Asia. Later
on, they completed their domination in Australia and finally Africa.
In 1500, just at the beginning of the brutal
intervention of the Spaniards and the Portuguese in Central and South
America, this region had at least 18 million inhabitants (some authors
put forward much larger figures of close to 100 million)5.
One century later, only around 8 million inhabitants were left (including
European settlers and the first African slaves). In the case of most
islands of the Caribbean Sea, the whole indigenous population had been
wiped out. It is worth recalling that during a long period of time,
Europeans, supported by the Vatican6, did not consider indigenous
people from the Americas as human beings7 . A convenient
justification for exploitation and extermination.
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