It is strange to think that it took centuries for October 12, 1492 to become a day of such significance. Maybe I am forgetting to remember how much longer it took for news to travel than as it does now.
Anyways, while listing to Week Three’s video lecture, I noticed that the Alhambra Decree was signed by Ferdinand and Isabella the same year Columbus landed in America. After doing a little research on the Alhambra Decree, I came to find out that it had been an attack against Jews, ordering the “expulsion” of them from the Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon by the end of July of that year. In the video lecture, I was told that, today, we would see this as an exercise of ethnic cleansing. It is sad to think that less than 7 decades ago, something extremely similar was taking place in Europe.
It is also sad to realize that within 50 years of Columbus’ first voyage, the population of the indigenous peoples of the Americas had dropped more than 50 percent, and then within a century, there was only a fifth of the original amount. This make me come to the conclusion that Columbus was not much of a hero after all, stated in my earlier blog.
Due to the lack of these Native Americans, slaves were then imported from Africa. This increased the interracial relationships, like shown in Castas paintings. It is interesting to learn why some of us are made of so many ethnicities. Having a Dominican mother, who is part Spanish, African, and French, and an American father, who is part Irish, Scottish, Native American, and who knows what, it is interesting to see how having parents like this is capable.
I found Castas paintings very interesting, especially the ones where he showed multiple settings on a single painting, which seem to stand as story of the different ethnic identities.