Not less than a week ago I was channel surfing on my television when I came across your show on the history channel titled "Examining Empires." I found the show to be very informative and interesting due to the fact that I am learning of the same material in one of my college history courses. Although the show was very well documented, I became disturbed with the information that your so-called Latin American history expert, Ms. Ima Psycho distributed. Due to my opposition of the information thats.
Psycho covered, and her lack of research on the subject, in the course of this letter I will inform you of what Ms. Psycho said that contrasts with what I have been taught in my history course this semester. First of all, Ms. Psycho stated very clearly that as far as the peasants in Peru were concerned, there was almost no difference between rule by the Inca Empire and rule by the Spanish colonizers.
In her opinion this was because in each case the people were governed by an imperial power to which they had to pay tribute in-kind and in laborservice. I disagree tremendously with Ms. Psycho on many accounts. First, in the manner of the labor service and the treatment of their workers, the Incas and Spanish differed immensely. According to Pedro Cieza de Leon, an early member of Spain's conquering armies, who documented the complexity of the Incas, stated "in short, it will be understood that as these lords knew how to enforce service and the payment of tribute, so they provided for the maintenance of the people, and took care that they should want nothing" (Cieza pg. 254).
What Cieza was saying was that the Inca rulers, though they may have been strict in enforcing service, they provided for the people and made sure that the people would never be needy. In contrast to the Inca's the Spanish colonizers could care less for their workers and their needs. As stated by Irene Silverblatt inner chapter on "Women of the Peasantry", "no buil in mechanisms existed to ensure the well being of the laborer or to restrain the exploitation of nature." Spanish colonizers had a different concept of who could labor for them than the Incas also. "Under the Incas, peasant women, while not formally registered in tribute roles, did contribute tothe fulfillment of labor demands made by the rulers, but they did so i nan economic system in which exaction's were tempered.
Under Spanish law, native women were formally exempt from tribute; however, attempts to moderate the exaction's made on the peasantry were disregarded by colonial authorities" (Silverblatt, pg. 129). In other words, Incas used women for labor in an economic system, while the Spanish used women not only illegally for labor purposes, but also for the purposes of gaining tribute and money. Ms.
Psycho in her mind felt that it was not necessary to go into detail on just how horrible the Spanish were to their laborers, such as making men leave their families at night to work in the mines, while the Spanish colonials put the wives of the working men to work or even raping them (Silverblatt pg. 139). When the comparison of in-kind tributes and how the Inca and Spanish collected these and who from, again both strategies contrast greatly. AsI cited earlier from Cieza, the Incas collected in-kind tributes fromthe laborers, but with the tribute, the Inca rulers used these and provided for the maintenance of the people (Cieza, pg. 254). The laborers in which the Incas collected these tributes from was the household, where all people in a family can help pay for what is obligated to be paid (Silverblatt, pg.
126). The Spanish also collected in-kind tribute from their laborers, but instead of putting the money back into the good of the people, the goods and in-kind tribute we retaking by the Encomenderos and exchanged for their value on the European market (Silverblatt, pg. 126). The people that the Spanish collected these in-kind tributes from was "all indigenous men of common origin between the ages of 18 and 50, regardless of marital status" (Silverblatt, pg.
126). As you can see, Ms. Ima Psycho, misinformed all of your viewers about how close in comparison the Inca and Spanish rulers were in laborservice and in-kind tribute, when truly and historically they had no similarities whatsoever. Secondly, Ms. Psycho gave a horrible misinterpretation to your viewers that European colonization was justified because Native Americans were barbarians and their civilizations had attained no political or economic achievements that were impressive or worthy of European respect. Again your professional, Ms.
Psycho did not do enough study and research on if her insight was correct, which it was not. Bartalome de Las Casas, Spain's defender of the rights of NativeAmericans, defended the Native Americans in his famous debate against Sepulveda in 1550, clearly stating how civilized these so-called barbarians were politically and economically. Las Casas states that even though Native Americans lack the art and use of writing, they hadn o need for the skill of ruling and governing themselves both publicly and privately. The Native Americans had kingdoms, communities, and cities that they governed wisely in accordance to their laws and customs (de Las Casas).
De Las Casas also went on to say that before Spaniards had incorporated themselves with the Native Americans, the natives had properly organized states, wisely ordered by excellent laws, religion, and customs. In a passage by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a member of Cortez " s conquering Spanish Army over the Aztecs, Diaz was astonished and mesmerized by the great splendor and wealth of the Aztecs. He wrote about how a series of large towns stretched themselves along the banks of the lake, where soldiers were continually passing over bridges, and canoes occupied the lake. Wealth amassed throughout the Native American culture and impressed Diaz and his European soldiers of how well NativeAmericans were economically. Not only were the Native Americans impressive to the Europeans politically, with their organized states, and economically with the Aztecs in the splendor of their civilization, the Native Americans were also very impressive to the Europeans "in their skill in every mechanical art that with every right they should be set ahead of all the nations of the known world on this score" (de Las Casas). The NativeAmericans could create beautiful art and build incomparable architecture, and make such abstract clothing.
Ms. Ima Psycho's false teachings on the Native Americans not impressing the Europeans politically or economically, again gives the viewer a depiction that the Native Americans were barbarians and lacked culture and civilized lifestyles when in fact these people lived great civilized wealthy and governed lives under their own leadership and not the Europeans. Lastly, I am troubled by Ms. Psycho's interpretation that Spanish and Portuguese Colonization actually benefited the Native Americans because it brought them Christianity. Now the colonization may have introduced Christianity to the Native Americans but the way the Native Americans experienced Christianity was not in a very positive manner.
Let me ask you something, would you want foreigners to come into your homeland, tell you that their religion will save you from going to hell and will set you free and at the same time, these foreigners make you their slave This is exactly what happened to the Native Americans. It became so horrible that Spanish laws were passed on the Native Americans called "the requirement" explaining that if native Americans did not accept Christianity they were legal slaves of Colonial leaders (The Sword and the Cross). This law may seem easy for the Native Americans to accept, but how could they accept a law when they did not know or understand the Spanish language and what the Spaniards were saying. Not only did Colonial rulers and settlers take advantage of placing Christianity on the Native Americans a burden, but Priests also took advantage. Priests would force Native American women to work, isolating them from Native American men, saying that in this way they trained the women and make them Christians. Not only do the Priests use religion to force labor, but they also would make false accusations declaring thatthe Native American women are living in sin; these accusations are usually made because of the insinuation of the priest, especially if these women have a child, answered him defiantly, or do not want to work for him voluntarily.
This causes the women to work without pay as if their sin was a punishment or penance (Silverblatt, pg. 142). So as you can see, Ms. Psycho realized and informed the viewers that colonization brought Christianity to the Native Americans, but she did not express the negative and improper ways in which the Native Americans experienced Christianity.
In closing, I would like to suggest that the next time you hire or interview a self-proclaimed history expert that you would have in mind that the expert researches the subject more in-depth, not only for the sake of making the expert look good, but in order that your viewers become more informed on the subject. I thank you for your time in reading my informative letter, and I do ask that you take my considerations into thought. Keep up the good work. Andrew Mashburn Headers Return-Path: Received: from relay 20. mx. aol.
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