59. Missionaryism – I
Before tackling this third-rail subject, it is necessary to give an explanation on the correct use of some terms. Nowadays, in all Western languages, the word ‘proselytism’, of Greek origin, has a strong negative meaning: an effort of propagandistic zeal that aims to acquire new followers by subtle persuasion, cunning and deception. The purpose of ‘proselytism’, according to this interpretation of the term, is to increase the number of ‘proselytes’, in order to put together large number of people which, with its numerical weight, can disrupt or overturn not only a religious situation, but also a political, a social, an economic and an ethnic one. Proselytism is therefore subtly linked to the idea of sedition or even subversion1. In reality, at least originally, the genuine meaning of the term ‘proselytism’ corresponded to something perfectly legitimate and even beneficial. The word derives from ‘proselyte’ (Gr.: προσήλυτος, read prosélütos), which means ‘newcomer’, completely similar to the meaning of ‘neophyte’ (new sprout). Proselytism, therefore, means to divulge a thought in a way that allows others to assess its rightness and, eventually, approve and share it. Since it is usually applied to the sphere of Christianity, let us see how proselytism is described in the Gospels and in what sense it was indicated as an apostolic activity:
Do not go the way of the Gentiles, nor enter any city of the Samaritans: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel2. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons: freely you have received, freely give. Do not put in your purses either gold or silver, or copper, or money for the journey, or two garments or two coats or shoes or sticks; for he who works deserves to earn his food3. And in whatsoever city or town you shall enter, ask who is worthy in it, and stay there until ye depart. And when ye enter a house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace be upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever does not greet you and listen to your words, when you leave his house or town, shake off the dust of your feet4. (Gospel of St. Matthew, X.5-14)
As can be seen, proselytism was then not only licit, but beneficial5. In fact, the proselyte had to be able to comply to the new message in complete freedom6. This has happened in all traditions. In India, for example, through its paṇḍitas, gurus and ācāryas, the different doctrines were publicly expounded on the occasion of pilgrimages (yatra), in public confrontations between exponents of different currents (ānsīkṣikīm), or at royal courts (rājādhiṣṭhānam). This is how sanātana dharma and the various currents of Buddhism spread in Southeast Asia and the Far East respectively.
The word ‘proselytism’ gradually took a negative connotation; it finally degenerated into missionaryism following the Protestant invention of propaganda. This was later intensified by the mass conviction typical of Marxism, which divides humanity into oppressors and oppressed by appealing to the most basic feelings of envy and revenge. Finally, with the birth of psychiatry we witness the rise of new techniques of collective suggestion and brainwashing practices by the means of technological tools.
Another term has been used to refer to the same practice of proselytism when it is regarded as its virtuous aspect, its good side, its positive reflection: missionaryism. The word derives from the Latin mittere, to send, and was originally related to the idea of an ambassadorship. However, in the praxis, ‘missionary’ has taken a very different meaning. The missionary is sent by a Christian religious organisation7 not with the purpose of expounding the truth, but of convincing people to convert, using both legal and illicit means. The aim is to push people to abandon with shame their tradition of origin, defined as superstitious and primitive, leading to inferiority complexes. ‘Mission’, far from meaning a temporary representative assignment, indicates a form of permanent and destabilizing infiltration in the core of the civilizations they targeted. Yet, in the popular imagination, the missionary is commonly believed to be a person who generously sacrifices himself for the spiritual, moral, economic and social well-being of the less fortunate populations. These latter are unable to enjoy such welfare and prosperity because of their ‘primitive religion’ or ‘pagan superstition’8. Of course, the individual missionary can be an altruistic person; but ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’, says popular wisdom. In fact, he is a cog in the wheel of a perverse mechanism created for the planetary expansion of Christianity. Or, more precisely, of the atheist civilization, the cancer that has metastasized the entire globe, which uses Christianity as a Trojan horse.
Proselytism towards the ‘worthy’ people was the traditional form of Christian preaching from the origins upto the Middle Ages9. It consisted in exposing to sovereigns and ruling classes the novelty of the Christian thought persuading them with the elevation of thought, the nobility of feeling and the example of an irreproachable, just and mild conduct. The conversion of the sovereign or the oligarchy meant the acceptance of the new religion also by the subjects10, over a more or less long period of time.
Alongside this proselytising of the elites11, early Christianity also devoted itself to convincing the plebs. By Preaching humility, demanding ‘social justice’ and the rejection of the ancient pagan religion, this devious form of proselytism insinuated itself into the Roman civil society, thus vilifying the ancient religion and undermining the authority of the state. This form of proselytism from below, subversive towards the Imperial order, can be acknowledge as origin of missionaryism as it appeared from the Renaissance onwards, that then spread everywhere through colonialism. This revolutionary activity de facto, which denied the divine right of Roman institutions and, first and foremost, of the Emperor, was the main cause of the persecutions that the Roman state unleashed against Christians12.
Proselytism through ‘worthy persons’ was successful: by decision of the monarchs, it in fact occurred the Christianisation of the Kingdom of Edessa (201 AD), Kingdom of Armenia (301), Kingdom of Georgia (326) and the Ethiopian Empire (330). On the contrary, the imposition of Christianity13 as the official religion of the Roman Empire cannot be counted among those free conversions of a sovereign. In reality it was the result of an exhausting infiltration into the ganglia of the state by disloyal converts who, indeed, acted to destroy it from within. This weakened the Empire and left it defenceless against the threat of barbarian invasions.
On the contrary, before the fall of the Empire for the barbarian peoples, such as the Germans and Celts of the islands (Irish and Scottish), and later in the Middle Ages among the Angles and Saxons, Hungarians and Slavs, conversion to Christianity was always determined by the sovereign or the oligarchy own choices. The last well-known episode of this form of ‘proselytism from above’ was the vain attempt of St. Francis of Assisi, in 1219, to convert Sultan Malik al-Kamil and with him the whole of Egypt14.
At the end of the Middle Ages, Catholic proselytism was in fact exercised by the mendicant orders, the Franciscans and Dominicans. Therefore in 1245 Pope Innocent IV sent the Franciscan Giovanni da Pian del Carpine to Karakoram, the capital of the Mongols, to invite Güyük Khan, successor of Genghis Khan, to convert together with his people15. The Khan declined the request, but treated the friar with respect and allowed him to leave with gifts for the pope. In 1294 another Franciscan, John of Montecorvino, established himself as the first archbishop in Peking, at the Court of Emperor Timur, with permission to preach. Again, the Mongol Emperor of China refused to convert with his subjects. However, one of his vassals, the Prince of Tenduk, was baptised with the name George and all his people followed his example16.
It will be useful to dwell a little on the preaching of Catholicism in the Americas, especially for the benefit of our Indian readers. In fact, all they know on this subject comes exclusively from the colossal falsification of history carried out by the Protestants. This historical falsification is still disingenuously active and through the means of colonization, and the imposed British educational system, it has conditioned the ideas that the Indian people have about Catholicism in the Americas. The fact that the American “Indians” were colonized by Spain and Portugal, as India was by Britain, triggers in our Indian readers a misguided sense of ‘third-world’ solidarity. Finally, forty years of political and cultural subordination to the Soviet Union by Congress India, has instilled, sometimes even in traditional Hindū circles, the miserable ideology that sees all humanity divided into oppressors and oppressed. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Communist International is globally imposing its new dictatorship through ecologism, globalism and the preaching of ‘cross-breeding’ and it continues to spread the poisons of the ‘liberation theology’17, of the ‘ransom’ of minorities, with the purpose of destroying all religious or dharmic traditions. The well-intentioned Indian reader should indeed ponder carefully on what follows.
In 1492, after concluding the reconquest of the territories occupied by the Moslems, the Kingdom of Spain had to face a new domestic danger. For several decades a large number of the Jew population took advantage of the option to simulating permitted by the Talmud, and pretended to convert to Catholicism. Since the Jews had been entrusted with the management of usury and banking, they were usually quite wealthy. By converting, they suddenly had access to the highest offices to both kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, to the Church hierarchy and to the most prestigious families of the aristocracy. They de facto secretly continued to practise their religion, lobbying on behalf of their community, benefiting from their twofold condition. This situation led to numerous popular uprisings against these new privileged people.
For this reason, the Catholic Monarchs issued an ultimatum to the Jews of Spain. Either they sincerely converted, and voluntarily submitted themselves to checks by the authorities, or they would be expelled from the crown territories. Of the approximately 180,000 Jews, three quarters decided to leave and they sold their property and took their movable goods with them. About 50,000 of them preferred to convert and accept to be checked on, avoiding in this way to sell off their property to the unfailing looters who were taking advantage of situation18. It is certain that very few of them actually converted and the others continued to rely on the art of simulation19. There is a whole literature on the various tricks and expedients they used to deceive the controls.
The same problem affected the assimilation of the Spanish subjects of Islamic faith20. The Muslims who remained under the new rulers were mostly of Iberian-Latin and Visigoth origin, Christians who had been forced to convert to Islam, the so-called mulades. They were forced to reconvert to Catholicism by a decree issued at the same time as the expulsion of the Jews. With a behaviour similar to that of the Jews, they simulated reconversion by accepting to be baptised. However, they remained faithful to Islam in private by following the principle of taqiyyah, i.e., the simulation of their inner beliefs. These crypto-Muslims, known as moriscos, adopted the opposite behaviour of the marranos: they preferred to isolate in rural communities to avoid royal control, but they were always ready to sabotage, to banditry, to rebel21 and to act as a bridgehead for North African and Turkish pirates and slave hunters. Soon the monarchy, the church and the Christian subjects learned to distrust both the crypto-Jewish and crypto-Muslim false converts22.
All the above must be well understood in order to have a balanced idea of the ways in which Catholicism expanded in Ibero-America, especially in the conquest of the two great empires: the Meshika-Azteco of Mexico and the Inca in South America. In both cases the tendency of the conquistadors was to convert the respective emperors to the Christian religion. If later there was violence against them, it was due to the initially inclined attitude of the rulers towards conversion. Both Moctezuma II for the Meshika and Atahualpa Inca, after an initial acceptance, wanted to backtrack. This convinced the Spaniards that the Indios emperors were behaving hypocritically, as previously done by the marranos and moriscos in Spain. Hernán Cortés had Moctezuma arrested, who was later killed by an Aztec arrow.
Also, Francisco Pizarro in Peru arrested Atahualpa and sentenced him to death for some gestures considered sacrilegious by the Catholic religion. However, even the defenders of the oppressed American Indians, easily manipulated by Protestant propaganda, cannot understand how a few hundred Spaniards were able to overcome the hundreds of thousands of soldiers of the Meshika or Inca armies. As for Mexico, the Aztec Empire had subjugated many kingdoms of other ancient civilizations and established a regime of absolute terror throughout Central America. Annually, in Mexico City alone, more than twenty thousand human victims, chosen from the enslaved peoples23, were sacrificed. Their flesh was then distributed to the Meshika and eaten24. Many are surprised by the easy victory over the Aztecs of only seven hundred Spaniards, including 13 arquebusiers and 16 horsemen25. But they deliberately forget that more than a hundred thousand warriors of the subjected and victimized local populations had joined them in a real war of liberation from the nightmare of human sacrifice and cannibalism26.
The same applies to Francisco Pizarro’s adventure in Peru, where he conquered the newly formed Inca Empire with only two hundred and fifty infantrymen and twenty cavalrymen. He also found peoples, newly subjugated by the Incas, who welcomed the Spaniards as liberators. These populations provided tens of thousands of warriors to Pizarro’s weak army. Besides Emperor Atahualpa was already engaged in a civil war against his brother Huáscar, fact that greatly contributed to the collapse of the Andean empire27. These events were not followed by any mass genocide as the ‘Leyenda negra’ claims, on the contrary: just as Cortés had married a daughter of the Meshika emperor, Isabel de Moctezuma, thus starting the Cortés Moctezuma dynasty, so Francisco Pizarro wedded the Inca princess Inés Huaylas, Atahualpa’s sister. In this way began the family of the Marquises Pizarro Yupanqui28. The Inca Garcilaso Count de la Vega, a famous Spanish historian and aristocrat, was also a grandson of the second-last Inca Emperor Huayna Cápac. Viscount Juan Cano Moctezuma, was the son of Juan Cano de Saavedra and Isabel of Moctezuma. He married the Duchess Elvira of Toledo, who belonged to the second noblest family of the Spanish Grandes. Thus, began the lineage of the Dukes of Toledo Moctezuma29.
If the historian is in good faith and has the courage to contradict the lies of the Anglo-Saxon historiography, he will discover that this was not the exception, but the rule at every social level throughout the Kingdom of Spain30. If we analyze the current situation of the ethnic composition of Mexico as an example, 60% are Mestizos, 25% Indios, 10% descendants of Spaniards and 5% descendants of other European populations. In Peru the percentages are as follows: 45% Indios, 35% Mestizos, 8% descendants of Spaniards, 7% descendants of other European populations, 3% Chinese, Mulattos, Zambos, Africans, etc.
In the United States, the percentages are as follows: Whites are 80%, Blacks 12.3%, population from Asia 3.9%, from Hawaiian colony 3% and Amerindians 0.8%31. Our friends from India who are reading this article should reflect on these figures and correct the false information they have received from their ancient colonizers.
Franciscans and Dominicans had a decisive role throughout the era of the Spanish conquest of Central and South America and the beginning of Catholic proselytism. In particular, there were generous figures, such as Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas32, who devoted himself to prevent the sadly inevitable abuses of power and injustices that were often perpetrated due to the distance of the colonies from the Court of Madrid. In fact, the Spanish Court usually promptly punished whoever committed abuses33. It is important to stress that the native inhabitants had full Spanish citizenship with all the rights thereto and were guaranteed to retain the private property they owned before the conquest.
Instead, with the Counter-Reformation appeared a new kind of missionaryism, a more degenerate form of conversion of the popular masses that had already been used to undermine the Roman Empire from within34.
Maria Chiara de’ Fenzi
- For this reason, after the Counter-Reformation, Catholics preferred to call their preaching ‘apostolate’, assigning to Protestants the now derogatory term of ‘proselytism’. Giovanni Perrone, L’apostolato cattolico e il proselitismo protestante, Genova, D.G. Roddi ed., 1862.
- Jesus’ instruction to the apostles indicated that the preaching was intended exclusively for the Jews of the diaspora, and among them the worthy persons, i.e., the qualified religious leaders and the heads of the communities. It was with the reformation of St Paul that preaching was also extended to the Gentiles. In this case, ‘worthy’ meant a person of some dignity. It was not for nothing that St Paul, a Roman citizen, addressed the court and senatorial families in Rome. However, the method of preaching remained unchanged: those who did not recognise the truth of the Gospel message were no longer to be considered ‘worthy’.
- That is, those who accepted the Gospel would provide for the apostles.
- The Jews considered that only their homeland was consecrated land. Therefore, on returning from a journey to the land of the Gentiles, they would shake the dust of the profane land from their shoes. This custom was inherited by the Christians, but they did not interpret it in the limited sense of religious legalism. They considered impure the dust of the soil of those who, having heard the truth, rejected it.
- It must be remembered that in the 1st-2nd centuries AD the preaching of Christianity also included the divine mysteries of initiation and not merely the exposition of general doctrine within the reach of all. It was thanks to this proselytising work that the German, Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples of the islands (Irish and Scottish) became Latinised and emerged from their original barbarism for some centuries.
- This excluded any proselytism leading to forced conversion at sword point, as in other Semitic religious forms. It should not be forgotten, however, that early Christianity was an initiatic doctrine and practice; not even in the initiatic paths of other monotheisms forced adherence is conceivable.
- In this, Catholicism can claim a sad primacy over the Protestant ‘confessions’. These arrived later, and were weakened by the fragmentation among their different sects and the mutual ‘liberal’ competition, although since then they have made up for the lost ground. It should be pointed out, however, that the countless Protestant factions are not religions at all, since they lack any kind of priestly, let alone initiatic, transmission; consequently, they are devoid of rituals that allow the faithful to gain the heavens, and everything is reduced to a worldly moral behaviour. The same can be said of Catholicism, which resoundingly committed suicide in the course of the twentieth century, in such a manner that it no longer retains even the semblance of a religion. It is interesting to stress that the Eastern autocephalous, Orthodox, Coptic, Oriental Assyrian churches, etc., which have maintained a traditional Christian structure and which still preserve an initiatic legacy, are, not by chance, devoid of the missionary anomaly.
- The term ‘religion’ is used here to align all the traditional forms with the parameters of the Christian religion, in order to have at least some common ground. On the other hand, ‘culture’ means the set of arts, sciences, social structures, rules of behaviour etc., typical of non-advanced ethnic groupings. In fact, from this perspective, only Christianity is endowed with civilization. It is no coincidence that the word ‘civilization’ acquired a modern sense during the Enlightenment to define and make a distinction between what it is ‘civil’ and it is not ‘religious’. The truth is exactly the opposite. In fact, Christianity, as well as its Semitic congeners Judaism and Islam, is a religion, and as such is quite different from the concepts of dharma or the Far Eastern tsung chiao (宗教). In these two different Eastern forms, the ritualistic intention is directed towards the well-being of the entire cosmic order, including insentient objects (jaḍa) and sentient beings, plants, animals, subtle beings and Gods. As for Christianity, it has developed a civilization that is only partially religious, whereas there is no distinction between dharma, cosmic order and civilization. Let us leave the term ‘culture’ out of this discussion, whether it is meant in the derogatory ideological sense used in cultural anthropology or in the sense of secular scholastic and self-taught erudition.
- In the early Middle Ages, this proselytising mission was carried out by Culdean monks also on the initiatic level. Nuccio D’Anna, Il cristianesimo celtico. I pellegrini della luce, Alessandria, Ed. dell’Orso, 2010.
- In the same way, the sanātana dharma, not at all inclined to proselytism, spread peacefully in South Asia, Indochina and Malay Archipelago, already in the centuries before the Vulgar Era. This is demonstrated by the great number of rājās and mahārājās present in that vast area before the Islamic invasion, that were then dethroned for good by British and Dutch colonialism. In Laos, on the other hand, the monarchy was suppressed by the armed communist revolution at the service of the Soviet colonialism. Only the Hindu-Buddhist monarchies of Cambodia and Thailand remain. For its part, the Bauddha Dharma, which has a strong proselytising component, converted the rulers of Tibet and the great empires of the Far East. Of these, only the Japanese Empire survives, the other empires having been subverted by Soviet and Chinese-Communist colonialism.
- See in this respect St Paul’s preaching at the Areopagus. Originally, this assembly represented the senate of the eupatrids, the ancient nobles. Despite the encroachment of the merchant classes and the abrogation of the monarchy due to the progressive democratization, it always remained the high court controlled by the aristocrats.
- The same insubordination to Imperial authority was also adopted by the Mosaic Jews, whom the Romans did not distinguish from the Christians during the persecutions. Exclusivism is congenital in Semitic religions: it is a known fact that after the recognition of Christianity as the State official religion by Emperor Theodosius (380), the Christians, having come to power, sought revenge. From then on, the followers of the ancient tradition, contemptuously defined as ‘pagan’ (rustic, uncouth, peasant) were subject to continuous persecution. In fact, from the beginning of the Middle Ages, paganism disappeared completely as religion together with its rituals and mythology, leaving behind only the remnants of magical or superstitious practices. However, many initiatic components survived within the Christian initiations to knighthood or trade.
- In ancient times the conversion to Roman Christianity, Greek Christianity, or the less orthodox forms of Arianism, Monophysism or Nestorianism made little difference. The distinctions began and became more dogmatic only after the Councils of Nicaea (325), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451) and the Second Council of Constantinople (553).
- Certainly, the sultan welcomed the poor man as a faqīr, a Christian Sufi. The friar’s arguments did not convince Malik al-Kamil, who was a learned initiate into Sufism and well versed in Ibn ‘Arabi writings. The fact that the sultan let St. Francis go freely, despite the fact that the fifth crusade was in progress, was only a demonstration of magnanimity. The situation was instead quite different ten years later when Malik al-Kamil and Frederick II met as equals and, apart from the political contingency, the two sovereigns discussed spiritual matters with mutual satisfaction. On the contrary such convergence was not repeated in the epistolary dialogue with the Almohad king ‘Abd al-Wahid ar-Rashid. Troubled by the exposition of Frederick’s doctrine on the eternity of the world, the sultan consulted the controversial Andalusian Sufi Ibn Sa’bin al-Mursi, who responded with an irritatingly arrogant haughtiness on the superiority of the creationist conception. The Emperor was not at all satisfied with this exchange of letters. Karla Mallette, the Kingdom of Sicily, 1100-1250; A Literary History, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005, pp. 58-63.
- Secondly, the Pope also invited the Grand Khan to form an alliance against the Islamic threat.
- AA.VV., I francescani e la Cina. 800 anni di storia, Assisi, Ed. Porziuncola, 2001.
- We should remember that this repulsive ideology has not only instigated terrorism against the “masters” in almost all the republics of Central and South America, but also in Africa and Asia. Even the Naxalite problem in India is the natural fruit of this process of putrefaction of Catholicism, that spreads with the support of Maoism.
- Actually, before the end of the 15th century, more than a third of those who left returned to the Spanish dominions, since, with the exception of Holland, Venice and the Ottoman Empire, Jews were allow to settle down anywhere else in Europe.
- The few sincere converts were called conversos, while those who tried to deceitfully blend in among the Catholics were called marranos.
- When Granada surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs, there were no Jews left in the territory, while the Christian Mozarabes, i.e., subjects of the Muslim kingdom, were reduced to a negligible number, demonstrating the mystification of the myth of a supposedly Edenic coexistence of the three religions in el-Andalus. The moros, of Arab and Berber origin, who preferred to follow their King Boabdil into African exile, left the kingdom of Granada almost uninhabited, which had to be repopulated by migrations of Spaniards from Galicia and Castile. Serafin Fanjul, Al-Andalus. L’invention d’un mythe, Paris, Éd. L’Artilleur, 2017.
- The bloody rebellion of the crypto-Muslims of Alpujarra in 1568 also resulted in the expulsion of the moriscos from Spain in 1609. These poor people, who then emigrated to the Maghreb and Algeria, instead of being welcomed, were exterminated by their Arab, Cabile and Berber brethren, who from centuries were engaged in piracy and banditry. Serafin Fanjul, cit.
- The concealment of one’s religion was seen as repugnant by Catholics who on the contrary considered virtuous the refusal to reject their own faith, even to the point of martyrdom. This reprehensible sin of cowardice is personified in the Gospels by St. Peter who denied Christ three times in the same night. Devin J. Stewart, Baber Johansen, Amy Singer, Law and Society in Islam, Princeton, Markus Wiener Publishers, 1996.
- Pietro Scarduelli, Gli Aztechi e il sacrificio umano, Torino, Loesher, 1980. Actually, the Incas rarely sacrificed human victims compared to the Aztecs. They sacrificed slaves to honour the funerals of the imperial house princes or, in case of natural disasters, to the goddess of the earth, Pachamama. Alfred Métraux, Gli Inca, Torino, Einaudi ed., 1998.
- Obviously, the stupidity of the defenders of the “oppressed” has no moral scruples. To justify the practice of cannibalism, the American anthropologist Michael Harner went so far as to claim that the Indians had a diet poor in proteins and largely based on maize, and consequently rich in carbohydrates, and for this reason they had to resort to human sacrifice (‘The Ecological Basis for Aztec Sacrifice’, American Ethnologist, Vol. 4, No. 1, Human Ecology (Feb., 1977), pp. 117-135). Numerous ecological scientists have enthusiastically embraced this explanation in order to fatally condemn Spanish colonialism. But then again, what can one expect from those who support Malthusian abortion and euthanasia to contain the ‘alarming’ population growth in emerging countries? In the end, Bolshevism and National-socialism have indeed succeeded!
- Mario Lopez Martinez, Conquistadores Extremeños, Leon, Ed. Lancia, 2007.
- It is therefore easy to understand why these populations quickly abandoned those brutal cults to embrace Catholicism.
- John Hemming, La fine degli Incas, Milano, B.U. Rizzoli, 1992.
- José Maria Ochoa, Francisco Pizarro, Montijo, Barrantes Cervantes Ed.s, 2009; Manuel Ballestreros, Francisco Pizarro, Madrid, Ed. Quorum, 1987.
- How many British aristocrats, bourgeois and proletarians, and how many North-American proletarians have mixed with the native Americans since the landing of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’?
- Even Baron Alexander von Humboldt, a Protestant and fanatical advocate of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, who visited South America at the service of the US intelligence from 1799 to 1804, reluctantly declared: ‘Because of a prejudice widely common in Europe, there is the belief that very few copper-coloured natives have survived in America. In New Spain, the number of natives amounts to two million, counting only those who have no intermingling with European blood. And what is still more consoling, that far from being extinct, the native population has increased considerably during the last fifty years, as is shown by the records of capitation and tribute.” Laura Dassow Walls, The passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the shaping of America, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2009, p. 60.
- In Anglo-Saxon America the main holiday is ‘Thanksgiving’. It is celebrated on the last Thursday in November and it commemorates a precise event. The Calvinist-Puritan ‘Pilgrim Fathers’, fled from England in the spring of 1621, and they brought with them seeds to be planted in their new homeland across the Atlantic. However, the harvest was disastrous and they risked starvation during the approaching winter. A large delegation of local natives arrived at the desperate immigrants’ camp and brought them enough corn, turkeys, fruit and game to survive through the winter. Tables were set and natives and Puritans celebrated together this new brotherhood of the New World. ‘Thanksgiving’ was established as a token of gratitude for the help received. ‘Thanksgiving’ was instead historically carried out with the scientific extermination of the original inhabitants of North America. Arcangelo Mafrici, Genocidio degli Indiani d’America, Roma,Gangemi ed. 2017; Gianfranco Peroncini, Al Dio degli inglesi non credere mai. Storia del genocidio degl’Indiani d’America 1492-1972, Sesto S. Giovanni, Oaks ed., 2017.
- Obviously, the reports of abuse by Las Casas, became the favorite source of the English and Dutch Protestant Anti-Catholic propaganda. It is also true that this Franciscan accepted slavery for those deported from Africa. But it must be understood that the mentality of the time allowed for these contradictions. Julián Juderías, La leyenda negra: estudios del concepto de España en el extranjero, Valladolid, Madrid, Ed. La Esfera de los Libros, 2014; William S. Maltby, La leyenda negra en Inglaterra. Desarollo del sentimiento antihispánico 1558-1660, Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1982.It should be added though that the majority of slave traders from the 16th to the 19th century were English and Portuguese, who went to the coasts of the Gulf of Guinea to buy black slaves from Arab merchants and took them to America.
- Christopher Columbus himself went to prison for enslaving some indigenous people. –Instead, later, the first president of the new-born United States (based on human principles: equality, freedom and the pursuit of happiness), George Washington, lived peacefully on his farm on the Potomac river surrounded by his black slaves.- Moreover, Don Pedro de Heredia, Governor of New Andalusia, was condemned and imprisoned together with his brother. The Viceroy of New Granada, Don José Manuel Soliais Folch de Cardona, who had become a cloistered monk at the end of his term of office, was condemned, pulled out of convent and sent to prison. (Maria Elvira Roca Barea, Imperiofobia y leyenda negra, Madrid, Siruela, 2016, pp. 306-307).
- Considered without prejudice, the Spanish conquest was a true epic. Its protagonists were the last examples in the West of kṣatriya’s behaviour, comparable to that of medieval chivalric sagas. Lewis Hanke, La lucha española por la justicia de America, Madrid, Grech, 1987. It is fatal that, in the effeminate, coward and pacifist atmosphere of the contemporary world, the conquistadores are object of hatred and condemnation. Philip Wayne Powell, El árbol del odio, Madrid, Porrua, 1972.