In what way did Columbus’ earliest interactions with Indians set the precedent for later Spanish-Indian relations?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Columbus reports that the Indians are open about sharing their resources.  He in turn is forceful with them, looking for the riches of their lands, especially gold.  When he could not find the riches he had promised his benefactors, he had to provide them with some measure to pay them for sponsoring his voyage.  He promised them that he could provide as much gold and slaves as they wanted. 

Sponsoring a second voyage, much larger than the first, Columbus is sent with 17 ships to retrieve the gold and take many slaves back to his benefactors.  Still believing that there was untold riches in gold, the Spaniards sent ships armed with weapons and horses.

The Spainards were vicious towards the Indians, using as their source of information Columbus's logs.  There was a systematic massacre of the Indians, in 1515 there were 50,000, by 1550 there were 500.  

"The self-assurance and sense of manifest destiny dominant in nineteenth century celebrations of Columbus have given way to painful self-examination of European crimes in the New World, of mistreatment, enslavement, and massacre of Native Americans."