Read the following perspectives on colonization:
Thesis I about colonization
Europeans colonized the Americas, and Asia (India) in order to bring civilization, religion, and government to these regions. The European nations should be honored and praised for spreading their culture and bringing civility to the uncivilized.
Thesis II about colonization
European colonization in the Americas, and Asia clearly represented imperialistic nations searching for greater land, wealth, and authority. The European nations should not be honored as discoverers or as people spreading civilization; Instead, they should be seen as conquerors, destroying advanced cultures and societies in the pursuit of greater power.
Questions to Ponder
Do people ever have the right to take another’s property? If so, when? If not, why not? Why did Europeans believe they had the right to take and use land that had been Native American land?
Within a few generations of the European’s arrival, the Native American population of the Americas was reduced by 90%. What caused this decrease? Was it essential? Is this an example of genocide? Was the purpose of European colonization to spread civilization or promote national interest?
Between 1500 and 1750, the nations of Western Europe took over almost all of North and South America. Between 1750-1900, they did the same in Asia and Africa. They claimed to have done so to spread Christianity and their idea of civilization. The greatest immediate changes that resulted from this conquest and colonization were that the natives in these areas became poorer while Europe became immensely rich and powerful. Do you think the Europeans were being honest when they claimed to be doing this for the good of Native Americans, the Asians, and the Africans?