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This claim is lame about the reign of Spain

5 April 2017

Via Chilanguia (my translation):

President of the Spanish public television and radio corporation RTVE, Jose Antonio Sánchez, said that regretting the destruction of the Aztec empire during Spanish conquest is like regretting at the defeat of the Nazis in World War II.

In an event organized by Casa América in Madrid,  Sánchez focused on what he referred to as “Spain’s work in the Americas”, listing off several “advantages” brought by the conquistadors.  “Spain was never a colonizer, it was evangelizing and civilizing,” he reiterated several times during his speech.

Sánchez included numerous references to what he considered the benefits of the Spanish conquest of America; among them, the infrastructures that Spain built in the territories conquered during the occupation of the continent, like “churches, schools or hospitals”. In this enumeration, he also emphasized “catechism and [Spanish] grammar”.

Hernán Cortés introduces Spanish grammar to the Aztecs.

The state official went futher, claiming “The discovery of America has been the most important event in the history of mankind, after the birth of Christ. And the work of Spain has been of such magnitude that for centuries the enemies of the empire have dedicated their best work to discrediting us”.

He denied any role of the conquest in exterminating the local populations of the Americas, arguing that the Spaniards “knew Petrarch or Dante”. “What goes on in people’s heads that they think the Spaniards of that time were going to dedicate themselves to the extermination of human beings”, he asked.   But then added, ” Were bad things done? Let someone tell me in what conquests there were not.”

Spaniards discussing the works of Dante.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember reading about an Aztec Inquisition, nor of the Aztecs being particularly keen on throwing out religious and cultural minorities. Spain does get kind of a bum rap from later conquistador countries like England, but I don’t seem to remember too many of the early Spaniards being great readers of Dante or Petrach.  Most were too busy with conquistador-ing the Hell out of their neighbors, enslaving them when they could get away with it, or cutting a swathe through the native population.  Alas, for every Bernadino de las Casas, there were more than a few  Nuño de Guzmáns and Juan Odantes.



Oh well, he’s from a country that never really came to grips with its own Fascist past.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 5 April 2017 5:48 pm

    “Spain was never a colonizer, it was evangelizing and civilizing,” I can’t believe he could say that with a straight face!!!

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