The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards: Crash Course US History #1

Hi I’m John Green, and this is Crash Course U.S. History! No, Stan. That’s not gonna work, actually. I mean, we’re talking about the 16th century today, when this was neither united nor states. By the way, this globe reflects the fact that I believe that Alaskan statehood is illegitimate! In fact, we’re going to call this whole show “U.S. History” but inevitably it is going to involve other parts of the world and also, not to brag, a small part of the moon. Sorry, we can be a little bit self-aggrandizing sometimes, here in America. So to begin U.S. history, we’re not going to talk about the United states or this guy. We’re going to talk about the people who lived here before any Europeans showed up. North America was home to a great variety of people so it’s difficult to generalize, but here’s what we can say: One, when the Europeans arrived there were no classical-style civilizations with monumental architecture and empires like the Aztec or the Incas. And two, native North Americans had no metalwork, no gun powder, no wheels, no written languages, and no domesticated animals. However, they did have farming, complex social and political structures, and widespread trade networks.>>Mr. Green! Mr. Green! So they were pretty backwards, huh? Well, or I mean at least primitive.>>”Primitive” is a funny word, me from the past, because it implies a romanticization — these simple people who never used more than they needed and had no use for guns. And it also implies an infantilization. It’s like you believe just because you have a beeper and they didn’t they
were somehow less-evolved humans. But you can’t see the human story as one that
goes from primitive to civilized. That’s not just Eurocentric that’s contemporary-centric. The idea that we’re moving forward as a species implies a linear
progression that just does not reflect the reality of life on this planet.
I get that you like to imagine yourself as the result of millennia of
advancement and the very pinnacle of human-ness, but from where I’m sitting
that worldview is a lot more backwards than living without the wheel. So no one
knows exactly how many people lived in North America before the Europeans
got here. Some estimates are as high as 75 million, but in the present US borders
the guesses are between 2 and 10 million. And like other Native Americans their
populations were decimated by diseases such as smallpox and influenza. Actually
it was much worse than decimation. As many of you have pointed out, “decimation”
means 1 in 10. This was much worse than that. It was closer maybe to 8 in 10,
which would be an “octicimation.” So there had been civilizations in North
America but they peaked before the Europeans arrived. The Zuni and Hopi
civilization roundabout here peaked about 1200 CE. They had large, multiple-family dwellings and canyons, which they probably left because of drought. Crash
Course World History fans will remember that environmental degradation often
causes the decline of civilizations. I’m looking at you, Indus Valley, and also you,
entire future Earth. Eut complex civilizations weren’t the rule in North
America. And now we’re about to begin generalizing, a bad habit historians have
partly because there’s a limited historical record but also because
Eurocentric historians have a bad habit of primitivizing and simplifying
others. So I want to underscore that there was huge diversity in the pre-Columbus American experience and that talking about
someone who lived here in 1000 BCE and talking about someone who lived here
2,000 years later is just inherently problematic. That said, let’s go to the
Thought Bubble: Most native groups in most places
organized as tribes, and their lives were dominated by the natural resources
available where they lived. So West Coast Indians primarily lived by fishing,
gathering, and hunting sea mammals; Great Plains Indians were often buffalo
hunters. These tribal bands often united into loose confederacies or leagues, the
best-known of which was probably the Iroquois Confederacy, also called the
Great League of Peace. This was kind of like an upstate New York version of NATO
but without a nuclear weapons or the incessant international meddling or
Latvians– Okay, it was nothing like NATO, actually. Religion usually involved a
vibrant spiritual world with ceremonies geared toward the tribe’s lifestyle:
hunting tribes focused on animals, agricultural tribes on good harvests. And
most Indian groups believed in a single creator god who stood above all the
other deities, but they weren’t monotheistic in the way that Christians
who came to the New World were. American Indians also saw property very
differently from Europeans. To First Peoples, land was a common resource that
village leaders could assign families to use but not to own, and most land was
seen as common to everyone. As Blackhawk, a leader of the Sauk tribe, said, “The
Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as
necessary for their subsistence; and so long as they occupy and cultivate it,
they have a right to the soil.” Thanks, Thought Bubble. Many of us tend
to romanticize American Indians as being immune from greed and class, but in fact
there were class distinctions in Indian tribes. Rulers tended to come from the
same families, for instance. That said, wealth was much more evenly distributed
than it was in Europe. And while most tribal leaders were men, many tribes were
matrilineal meaning that children became members of their mother’s family. Also
women were often important religious leaders. Women also often owned dwellings
and tools, although not land because again that idea did not exist. Also in
many tribes women engaging in premarital skoodilypooping wasn’t taboo. In general
they were just much less obsessed with female chastity than Europeans were. I
mean I will remind you the first English settlement in America was called
“Virginia.” The idea that Native Americans were noble savages, somehow purer than
Europeans and untouched by their vices is not a new one.
Like some of the earliest European saw the Indians as paragons of physical
beauty and innocent of Europeans’ worst characteristics. But for most Europeans
there was little noble about what they saw as pure Indian savagery. I mean
Indians didn’t have writing, they suffered from the terrible character
flaw of being able to have sex without feeling ashamed, and most importantly
they weren’t Christians. The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore this part
of the world. Juan Ponce de León arrived in what is now Florida in 1513 looking
for gold and the fabled Fountain of Youth. In 1521 he encountered a Calusa
brave’s poison-tipped arrow and died before discovering that the Fountain of
Youth is of course delicious Diet Dr. Pepper. Mmm, ahh. I can taste all 23 flavors.
There were many more Spanish explorers in the first half of the 16th century
including one Álvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, who wandered through the American Southwest looking for gold, which I mentioned entirely because I think that
guy’s last name means “cow head.” Of course none of these people found any gold, but
they did make later European colonization easier by bringing over the
microbes that wiped out most native populations. So the Spanish wanted to
colonize Florida to set up military bases to thwart the pirates who preyed
on silver-laden Spanish galleons coming out of México. But Spanish missionaries
also came over hoping to convert local native populations. This of course worked
out magnificently. Just kidding, it went terribly. Many of the missions were
destroyed by an uprising of Guale Indians in 1597, and I will remind you
mispronouncing things is my thing. In general colonizing Florida sucked
because it was hot and mosquito-y. Spain was much more successful at colonizing
the American Southwest. In 1610 Spain established its first permanent
settlement in the southwest at Santa Fe, New México. You couldn’t really say
that it flourished since Santa Fe’s population never got much above 3,000, but it had a great
small-town feel. New México is really important because it’s the site of the
first large-scale uprising by Native Americans against
Europeans. I mean the native people, who the Spanish called “Pueblos,” had seen
their fortunes decline significantly since the arrival of Europeans. How much
decline? Well, between 1600 and 1680 their population went from about 60,000 to
about 17,000. Also the Franciscan friars who came to convert the indigenous
people became increasingly militant about stamping out all native religion.
The Spanish Inquisition just wasn’t very keen on the kind of cultural blending
that made early conversion efforts successful. So while the Spanish saw all
the Pueblos as one people they also knew there were tribal
differences that made it difficult for the Indians to unite and rise up against
the Spanish. But nothing unites like a common enemy, and in 1680 a religious
leader named Popé organized an uprising to drive the Spaniards out.
Popé organized about 2,000 warriors, who killed 400 Spanish colonists and
forced the rest to leave Santa Fe. So the Spanish colony in New México was
effectively destroyed. The Pueblos tore down all the Christian churches and
replaced them with kivas (their places of worship), but like most awesome
uprisings it didn’t last. After the revolt the Spanish were much more
tolerant of indigenous religion, and they also abandoned the forced labor practice
called encomienda. Oh, it’s time for the new Crash Course feature the “Mystery
Document”? How mysterious. The rules here are simple: I read an attempt to identify
the mystery document. If I am right, I do not get shocked by this shock pen. And if
I am wrong, I do. Okay, what do we have here?
“The Indians were totally deprived of their freedom and were put in the
harshest, fiercest most horrible servitude and captivity which no one who
has not seen it can understand. Even beasts enjoy more freedom when they are
allowed to graze in the fields. But our Spaniards gave no such opportunity to
Indians and truly considered them perpetual slaves. I sometimes came upon
dead bodies on my way, and upon others who were grasping and moaning in their
death agony repeating, ‘Hungry, hungry.’ And this was the freedom, the good treatment
and the Christianity the Indians received.” Well, that’s nice. Okay, so the
mystery document is always a primary source, and since the writer refers to
“our Spaniards” I’m going to guess that he or she (probably he) is European and a
Spaniards sympathetic to the Indians, which narrows the list of suspects
considerably. So it probably wasn’t de Sepúlveda for instance, who argued that
the Indians might not even be human. Okay, Stan I’m actually pretty confident here.
I believe it is from “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies” by
Bartolomé de las Casas. Ah, dang it! Stan just told me I have the author right but the book
wrong. It’s “A History of the Indies.” Oh, I hate shocks, both literal and
metaphorical. So we focused a lot on the brutality of the Spanish toward the
Indians, but at least one Spaniard, de las Casas, recognized that his countrymen
were terrible. This realization is a good thing, obviously, but it leads us to
one of the big problems when it comes to studying this time and place. The Black
Legend is the tale that the Spanish unleashed unspeakable cruelty on the
Indians. Now, that tale is true. But that idea was used by later settlers,
especially the English, to justify their own settlements. Like part of the reason
they needed to expand their empire was to save the Indians from the awful
Spanish, but were the English so much better? Yeah, probably not. As we mentioned
at the beginning of today’s episode, American Indians didn’t have writing so
we don’t have records of their perspective. Now, some Europeans like de
las Casas were critical of the Spaniards, but most considered the Indians heathens
and implied or even outright said that they deserved whatever horrible things
befell them. So at the beginning of our series I want to point out something
that we need to remember throughout: One of the great things about American
history is that we have a lot of written sources. This is the advantage of the
U.S. coming onto the scene so late in the game, historically speaking, But every
story we hear comes from a certain point of view. And we always need to remember
who is speaking, why they are speaking, and especially which voices go unheard
and why. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week.
Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is
Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my
high school history teacher Raoul Meyer and myself, and our graphics team is
Thought Bubble. If you have questions about today’s
video you should ask them in comments. Everybody who works on Crash Course as
well as a team of historians will be there to answer them. Thanks for watching.
Please make sure you’re subscribed to Crash Course. And as we say in my
hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.

100 thoughts on “The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards: Crash Course US History #1”

  1. Ap world scarred me so bad that it’s summer and i’m trying to prep for springs apush test☠️

  2. Ap world scarred me so bad that it’s summer and i’m trying to prep for springs apush test☠️

  3. Spanish Romans… seeking and destroying the rest of the tribes people after destroying Judah.. Jerusalem..and doctrining lies about the Messiah…

  4. The black legend, there is no black legend. The first Americans were black Aborigines. The native Americans were black Aborigines. The fact is that you call it a legend is to keep the truth from the descendants of the real native Americans, the black Aborigines. After this came the Asian Mongolian people, the African people, the Chinese people, the Spaniard then the European. The only people who came here to take the land from the native Americans were the Spaniards and the European.✌🏾

  5. All this Chanel says is just false, is just ignorance with cartoons…why in Latin America the Indian population is the 85% of total while in USA is only the 1%? Please the USA is the country of the best Universities an center of education of all the world and this kind of videos are not in the level of USA and his people…USA exist thanks to Spain and the American and Spaniard carácter is very similar, get out this lies¡

  6. Cuanta mentira y leyenda negra, mucha ignorancia por su parte y una ofensa para todos los que llevamos apellidos de origen español.

  7. I need to learn us history because i'm going to be an excange student in nyc in a year and i know nothing.

  8. Usted es, además de iletrado e imbécil, un listillo aprovechado, que aprovecha el fácil camino de La Leyenda Negra, pera medrar. Y lo que es el colmo, para convencer a sus incultos seguidores de que el Imperio Español, el Imperio que ha creado la mayor comunidad multirracial del mundo, con una integración absoluta, con conservación hasta la actualidad, de razas, lenguas y culturas tras 500 años y si no. Dese una vuelta por Hispanoamérica, si, hispano y no Latinoamérica pues hay no intervino ni Italia, ni Francia ni Rumania…. y verá que allí hay muchas razas y muchos mestizos, muchas culturas….. ¿nos vas a convencer que vosotros, los del norte, no habéis ido a la caza del indio? ¡Venga ya, atontao, sigue dando saltitos y haciéndote el gracioso! Pero recuerda eres un esbirro de no sé qué poderes además estupido e iletrado.

  9. Dear kids good luck with your exams. On the other hand almost everything said here is a lie. I am not exaggerating look it up for yourself. You may pass the exam however it is not true.

  10. Otro ignorante y mentiroso. Con tus mentiras sólo provocas oído e ignorancia a esos seguidores con poco inteligencia. Da datos históricos y si sus fuentes si te a través. No los encontrarás te reto a ti y a todos los que te siguen.

  11. This episode is a prehistory of a prehistory. I have often wondered if it would be possible to write a history of the USA that started with the arrival of humans in ca 12000 BC and gave a more balanced account of each century since then.

  12. I know this comes like 6 years late but the idea that ponce de leon was looking for the fountain of youth doesnt have any evidence and seems to be a myth spread posteriorly

  13. Why isnt he talking about tribal wars, torture, slavery before settlers? The settlers weren't the greatest, but keep it real.

  14. You know america is young because you can read all of the documents without learning another alphabet. (Germany in the corner glaring because they only switched to the latin alphabet in 1945)

  15. Oye rubito, ¿dónde están los indígenas 'originales' o los mestizos de USAdiossalveaamerica, ah? "Las enfermedades los mataron… los malvados españoles los acabaron… se murieron solitos… " ENTÉRATE RUBITO, tu Estados Unidos se fundó sobre la sangre del exterminio de las tribus indias que en el s. XIX tu gobierno anglo promovió. Eso es historia y no lo podéis ocultar. Otra cosa es que, avergonzado de lo que hicieron tus abuelos tan rubios como tu, culpeis a otros, ¡Hipócritas y rufianes!

  16. John keeps saying Indian and I keep cringing. I know Americans still say that but in Canada that is a VERY problematic term, like calling people of African decent Negros.

  17. Natives and Mexicans came from Asia the African race is changeing our history Mexico needs to be a us territory since they brought the African race as slaves.learned that in elementary School in the USA.

  18. Idiotic and ignorant video.

    Crash course in Anglo American fabrication of history to cover up their own genocide.

  19. are you familiar with Jane Lander, if not you should research her. Your version is the American HisStory i will give you another shot. Blacks we're instrumental in all parts of the world. They should not be neglected or left out. We are not invisible… PS the were people of color in the new world when columbus arrived.

  20. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the Spaniards to the Brits. The Catholic Spanish policy was convert and integrate. That’s why Latin America is brown skinned and speaks Spanish today. Intermarriage was common. Consider Cortez and la Malinche. Mestizos were born almost immediately. While the British Protestants policy eventually led to “manifest destiny “. Which meant keep pushing the brown people west and eliminate them if necessary. Both saw the indigenous populations as in the darkness of paganism but only the Catholics considered them persons as in need of redemption.

  21. Oh yeah theres things talk about that are like myth and legend in our culture that are pretty strange like the deserts and salt flats use to be lush fertile jungle like and humans destroy them anyway that was ancient even when we heard it…weird huh? In fact we got tons of stuff like that kinda like the ancient aliens…not sure how much is fact and fiction…ya know? Anyway "moutain goat rocks"! Whooo hoo!

  22. White people always destroy in history that's why it's called history is his story you white motherfukers are liars dude you guys are pieces of s*** none of the s*** you say is true y'all bring watch Mexicans and thinking are Spaniards and they're really not the Mexicans were originally black the Native Americans were originally black for the real children of Israel you guys came here to enslave us Christopher Columbus use the Bible to find the Native Americans the part of the Bible that the Catholic Church took out called the Apocrypha

  23. Problems with this one: [You APUSH people may want to read up on the points I'm making.]

    1) It doesn't even mention the well-documented Norse settlements that happened a good 500 years before the Spanish in what they called "Vínland" (Eastern Canada). Thus, the first Europeans to settle in the two continents that make up the Americas were Norse, not Spanish. I wouldn't go so far as to say they lived "peacefully" with the native population, but they sure weren't jerks about it like the other European nations that had latched onto a racist publication justifying through the Bible that "Canaanites" were anybody that wasn't white; thus, seeing them as non-human was fine and any atrocity against them was justified. (Yep, that's our history, folks.)

    2) It is NOT called the "Iroquois Confederacy". Continued use of a French derivative of a Huron insult (meaning "Black Snakes") for the "People of the Longhouse" is perpetuating a slur. Please stop. The proper term is "Haudenosaunee" (for John, the pronunciation is "ho-duh-no-show-knee").

    I know it's six years too late and perhaps lessons were learned from this, but I think this one might need updating if it's to be shown in classrooms. Getting things absolutely correct can be difficult in the format of the show, but the little details matter.

  24. In other words Black people was here before whites and mogels ???? Wow !!! So this World belongs to Black Melanin Carbon People ???

  25. 1512 Spain created the Laws of Burgos banning slavery and giving the natives property ownership and civil rights. Before any country did it. And the Spanish territories are 80% native while in the US they are down to 1%.

  26. You just gonna zoom over Europeans killing millions, like “oh when we arrived most of them just getting sick and died”😂

  27. Bartolome de las casas was also one of the reasons why African slavery was introduced to Mexico. And at-least the Spaniards didn't exterminate the natives quite as extensively as the English did.

  28. Original Natives Americans were The Short hair Dark Skin Native on Every products and Map of the Americas. Later they use the the long hair pale face in cartoons and Tv.We Ruled by BLOOD of our Fathers and LAND of our Fathers. All Around the world! Christianity switched out BLOOD and Replaced it with Faith. Causing mixed races ,division and collapse. We are Not Only Native But we are the ORIGINAL OF EACH LAND MASS. And we traded we each other until ORIGINAL NATIVES OF EUROPE Contacted diseases from Outcast or Raiders and fell into a REGRESSION called a Dark Age in history books. Later Europe is Re introduced to BATHING and Soap RE CIVILIZED. The Civilized Heathen began creating upside down maps and charts Putting themselves at the Top! Creating a World in Reverse to what God created. Some are still Deranged. So they are sent these to America. The British hope maybe they’d die in the wilderness. But No Such Luck. They Land in the America Killing it’s said about 90% just from contact. And I wish you people would stop making up history and tell the Truth. Today Gentiles are Jews.

  29. Read a book by Dr. David Imhotep tittled Africans were the first Americans. Read a book by Prof Ivan Van Sertima tittled They came before Columbus.

  30. Soy catalan pero hay que reconocer que los españoles repartieron manguera por America en aquellos tiempos. Fruto de las culiadas hay muchos marroncetes escribiendo por aqui.
    Hay que entender el contexto historico, España era el imperio mundial en aquel momento, y la raza española era descendiente directa de la romana y los moros, no como los ingleses, unos lechosos pseudo-vikingos rednecks con los piños torcidos.
    Se puede decir que los españoles mejoraron la raza americana. Sin españoles no habria estereotipo "latino americano", tanto en hombres como en mujeres.
    Al Cesar lo que es del Cesar.

  31. Hello Crash Course team, Im a social studies teacher for 5-8th grade. I would love my class (about 5 students) to be able to view your videos and ask you questions as we cover the colonial era of US history. Is this possible?

  32. I'm not here for APUSH, because I decided to not let myself suffer, but as a person who tends to get distracted in class, I need this a WHOLE LOT

  33. Anyone else hear because they’re taking APUSH this school year, heard how awful it is, and wants to get as much of a leg up as possible?

  34. @thecrashcourse I would like to use your videos to share with my students however English isn't their first language. They language skills are quite advanced but the videos have some cultural references and you talk very fast. Are there transcripts available I can use as a tool to go along with your videos?

  35. I travel America, and in latin america you can see the natives mix with the spaniards
    In north america you just she the natives in a reservation wich is a racist jail created by the genocidal anglo Saxon murderous.

  36. I wonder if those "Spaniards" were Jews that were from Spain who posed as Christians since the Jews were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism. Also, Roman Catholicism is not Christian. Roman Catholicism is fake just like Judaism is fake. Each of them have their fake book for their fake religions that murder people. Add Islam to that group too. Belief in God through faith in Jesus Christ means that "You shall not murder."

  37. Please help me out here guys.

    The Pre Video
    0:00 Rambling and "Jokes"

    Intro 0:2
    the video is about the indians 0:31
    Another intro 0:36
    The begining 0:45

  38. Thank you so much for the last thing you said about paying attention to whose voice is telling you about history and the voice that is not being heard. That is so important. I am an educator and I make a point of telling my kids that just because they didn't share an experience with another it doesn't mean that it didn't happen, and that our perceptions about shared experiences can be different. I hope that it is something that they will always remember.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *