Black Legend hides the truth about America's discovery
by Fernando Quijano
This speech was delivered on Sept. 2, 1990, at a conference in Arlington, Virginia of the International Caucus of Labor Committees (ICLC), the philosophical association founded by Lyndon LaRouche. In his audiotaped keynote speech to the conference, LaRouche had developed the concept that, from an ecumenical standpoint, the defense of Christian civilization today against the assaults of paganism and oligarchism, is in the vital interests of all mankind—"the Vedantist, the Jew, the Buddhist, and the Muslim." The panel which Mr. Quijano addressed, entitled "The American Ideology," also included presentations by Webster Tarpley on the immorality of radical Calvinism, and by Gerry Rose on the crucial flaws in England's John Milton and the Commonwealth Party.
In two years, we will be celebrating the Fifth Centennial of the discovery of the Americas, and the first point to be made about the American ideology, is that America does not mean the United States: It means all of the Western Hemisphere.
The celebration in 1992 of the 500th anniversary of the discovery and evangelization of the New World, has become a very controversial subject. Some would say that what we're celebrating is merely the discovery of the New World. Others don't want to celebrate it at all. The National Council of Churches, which includes 32 different non-Catholic churches in the United States, denounced the Fifth Centennial, because they say this is not a time for celebration, but for reflection and repentance. Why? Because they say that the history of the New World is a history of racism, slavery, genocide, and exploitation, of the native peoples of the Caribbean, and of South, Central, and North America.
In this, they join with Fidel Castro, who also has led the effort at the United Nations and elsewhere (and has gotten the support of a large part of the Socialist International, with Felipe Gonzalez of Spain), to say that 1492 could not be called the "discovery." Castro says, it is 500 years of imperialism and racism which will be celebrated in 1992.
Therefore, what seems to be a very strange alliance—the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, Fidel Castro, and the Socialist International— promotes the view that the colonization and evangelization of the New World was merely "imperialism." This is what is referred to, in academic circles in Latin America and Spain, as the Black Legend.
Paganism versus Christianity
This has immediate geopolitical implications. Here are some of the people who have gotten into the act: the Inter-American Dialogue, the Woodrow Wilson Institute—which implies the Aspen Institute. This is James Baker; this is Dwayne Andreas; this is Sol Linowitz—all the top Eastern Establishment figures. This is an overlap of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and so on.
In their latest magazine, Wilson Quarterly, they charge that there have indeed been 500 years of imperialism against the Indians. They support the Peruvian terrorists, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). They say it's regrettable that Sendero has some Pol Pot-like tendencies, but claim the terrorists actually are the representatives of a great tradition of Indian rebellion against the white man. They say that the horrifying thing about the Spanish settlers, and the Christianization of the New World, is that these people actually mixed races. In other words: that miscegenation was the biggest crime. One of the most terrible things that has happened in Peru, according to these people, is that now there are more mestizos than pure-blooded Indians. This, they claim, is the proof of imperialism.
This propagation of the Black Legend fits in with a policy by the Eastern Establishment of the United States, to put Shining Path in power in Peru. The bankers have said several countries are going to disappear: We don't care, they say; either the reforms we want are implemented, or whole countries will disappear—referring to Peru and Bolivia, explicitly. John Reed of Citibank has said that.
It begins to become clear that what we're seeing here is paganism versus Christianity. This is precisely what Lyndon LaRouche has identified as the major battle, that we face today: an all-out war against Christianity. This is an ecumenical question, not a religious question. Paganism is precisely what the Eastern Establishment wants to implement.
The Black Legend is the idea that the experience of the New World has been 500 years of imperialism, and that everything horrible that has happened in the world, since 1492, has been the fault of Spain. Indeed, this is what's reported in a daily barrage in the press in the United States, and many parts of Western Europe.
Just a couple of weeks ago, U.S. News and World Report had an article which featured Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Panama, and said that the failures of U.S. policy in this area are not due to U.S. imperialism—which has, as we all know, invaded these three countries any number of times—but rather, the failures are due to something that the Spanish Catholics did, that somehow does not permit the people of these countries to practice democracy.
The sword and the cross
This is the Black Legend: The sword and the cross, that is, Spain and the evangelization by Spain, ruined all of Latin America, and tried to ruin all of Europe, for many centuries.
When f started college in 1966, this book was just off the press: Spain in America. This was the basic reader for history on Latin America. On the cover is the cross, the sword, and, of course, the poor Indian, being crushed. This is by one of the most famous historians, Charles Gibson. I'll read the last sentence of his book: "What our government proposes as its policy, is an Alliance for Progress. But what the colonial and modern history of Spain in America so steadfastly informs us, is that Spanish America is less concerned with progress, than we are."
For Gibson, the banks have had nothing to do with the lack of progress in Latin America. Any number of U.S. military interventions in the Caribbean have had nothing to do with it. It's somehow the fault of Spain.
The Black Legend says that Spain contributed little to Europe, and then died; that Spain vanished from the face of the Earth, sometime in the sixteenth century, or even the fifteenth century; that Spain has always been dictatorial and authoritarian; that it's always been controlled massively by corruption. When I say Spain, I also mean the New World, that is, Latin America, Ibero-America; the Black Legend says that since it was colonized by Spain, it too has suffered all the same problems. It says that Spain is run by bigotry— and everybody immediately brings up the Inquisition, this most horrifying thing, which destroyed, with religious persecution, every kind of freedom in Spain and in the New World.
The Black Legend says too, that Spain was responsible for the biggest genocide ever, and that anywhere between (it's been said) 20 and 40 million Indians were murdered, by the Spanish conquest of the New World.
We're going to answer these charges, but we first have to situate this historically.
The Council of Florence confronts the Ottoman Empire
As Lyndon LaRouche has said in Project A,' one must situate all modern history from the standpoint of the Council of Florence (1438). The Council of Florence was absolutely essential, in hammering out precisely the view that we have adopted as an organization, since last year, of the Filioque (see box). This concept of the Trinity is essential, precisely because it puts man in a position to exercise creative reason; it is a fundamental concept, not just as a great idea, but as one with consequences. To hold onto these ideas and fight for these ideas, has consequences. It's like Lyndon LaRouche's economic program. This, and his scientific and musical ideas, are all tremendous ideas, and things which one would like to discuss, read about, and study endlessly. But sometimes one forgets, that there are consequences to holding these ideas. The enemy persecutes you, and puts you in jail, for holding these ideas. Lyndon LaRouche is in jail now for his ideas.
That is so because our enemy is an oligarchical enemy, which is out to destroy Christianity.
That being the case, we are not talking merely about good ideas. The discussion of the Filioque at the time of the Council of Florence involved the most advanced ideas, tremendous research in history and so on, but it was a very controversial idea.
At the time it was being discussed, Europe was facing the Turk, the Ottoman Empire, which was threatening to destroy all of what we call Christianity. That is why this Council was put together; that was why the Filioque was chosen, as the one thing that would save Western Europe, because it would unite Eastern Christianity, the Byzantines, Constantinople, and Western European Christianity, to do what? To fight the Turk. This was a life-and-death idea. This was no mere theological debate about the Trinity.
The map below shows the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, starting from 1300 with the territory controlled by the Ottoman Turks. By 1451, they completely controlled the Adriatic, and threatened the major ports of Western Europe.
Now, along with the Ottoman Empire, there were any number of allies of the Ottomans, especially in Northern Africa, who, from 1359 through the 1600s, were continuously raiding, destroying, and controlling the Mediterranean, taking slaves, and the like. And, of course, there was a large Moorish population in Spain, which controlled a large part of southern Spain, even by 1451. There existed the threat of the unity of the Moors in Northern Africa and in Spain, with the Ottoman Empire, and the possibility that they would then be able to apply a pincers movement on Europe, through the Adriatic, through Vienna, and so on, and begin an attack, from Spain and from the East both, to overrun Western Christian Europe.
From 1451 through 1481, there is a continued, massive expansion of the Ottoman Empire. In 1453, Constantinople falls. As the map shows, the Ottoman Empire came to control large parts of what was then the known world. This includes 1520-66, the period of Suleyman the Magnificent, who is considered the great ally of France and the Reformation. This takes us all the way up to 1683, the year the Ottomans laid siege to Vienna (they had done it before, in the middle of the sixteenth century).
So, the Council of Florence was convened to defeat the Turk, and to save Constantinople from being overrun by the Turk, by the Ottoman Empire. The first thing that was put together was a crusade; in 1438, at the time of the Council of Florence, the Pope called for a crusade, but it took a long time to organize it—not until 1444 was a crusade put together. It involved Byzantine troops, Hungarian troops—and Venice, being the major sea power at that time in the Adriatic, outside of the Ottoman Empire, was supposed to send in the naval capabilities to take the troops to Constantinople. Not surprisingly, given what we know about Venice, the Venetian ships never showed up, and the troops were left stranded, to be crushed by the Turk at Varna.
This was already a pattern for Venice, the usurious, oligarchical state par excellence. Venice was small; it controlled much by controlling the spice trade; the Venetians were usurers, and they had played a balance-of-power game in Italy, in Europe, and with the East. Finally, they were the loyal alliee of the Turk. Much of the Ottoman Empire's bureaucracy was controlled by Venetians, through family ties and other means.
As a result of the Venetian treason, eventually Constantinople fell, in 1453. The Ottoman Empire not only threatened Vienna: It attacked Italy, in 1480, near the Kingdom of Naples, with great massacres of Italians. In that first raid alone, they killed 11,000, and massacred every priest and every religious figure they found, beginning with the Archbishop.
What did this earn for Venice? One of the greatest poets of Spain, Francisco de Quevedo, would say about Venice: "Venice is the Pontius Pilate of the Western Christian world," and "Venice is the banner of incomparable iniquity." In short, it was widely known that Venice was using the Ottoman Empire to smash at the Western Christian world, to try to destroy Western Christianity.
An empire of usury and barbarism
Who was the Turk? What was the Ottoman Empire?
It was formally Islam. But, at different points, it actually had many Christian elements in it, and inputs into it. It was an empire based on expansionism. It had no economic basis, no reason for its existence, except expansionism and the taking of loot: Its troops, its bureaucracy, everything depended on continuous expansion. The Venetians gained from this, because they had the monopoly of commerce within the empire. And, at the high point of the Ottoman Empire, Suley-man the Magnificent had over 14 million subjects—compared to Spain, which at that point had a population of 5 million, or to England, which had 2.5 million.
There was a grave cultural problem. There was much great art, much great wealth. There were even some great engineering works carried out in Constantinople, now known as Istanbul. But the empire was based on a barbarian principle which had very little to do with Islam, in a sense, even though it was formally Islamic.
It was lawful that there was a unity between the Venetians, the oligarchy par excellence, and the Ottoman Empire.
One historian summed up this cultural problem in one sentence: "An idiot Sultan (head of the Ottoman Empire) could paralyze the whole empire, in the way that a Pope, or a Holy Roman Emperor, could never do for all of Europe." In Western Europe, precisely because of the Filioque, you had creative reason. The individual counted for something. In the Ottoman Empire, it was exactly the opposite.
It was usurious in its expansion, and it was usurious internally. Internally, the empire was constantly looting its own subject populations, and constantly stepping up tax farming, which the Venetians had introduced with great sophistication into the Ottoman Empire.
Invariably, the Ottoman Empire rejected progress and the ideas of the West.
In one famous incident, the elite troops of the empire burnt down an astronomical observatory, because they thought that the observatory had brought the plague to the surrounding area. Many different passages exist, including in Leibniz, which explain that the Turkish troops would not take the minimum health requirements into account, when going into an area where plague was found. Europe had learned to deal, by no means fully effectively, but to some degree, with the plague, but the Turks refused to take any of these precautions. They were totally fatalistic, completely fundamentalist in that sense.
Perhaps these qualities are best expressed by the Ottoman Empire's method of succession.
True, in the West, the method of succession of kings, of governments, was very chaotic, surrounded by wars, murders, and all the rest. The Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, was very efficient. What was decided as a law of succession, was that all brothers of the Sultan would be immediately executed. In fact, Suleyman the Magnificent, the greatest of the Ottoman Sultans, not only executed all his brothers, but executed four of his five sons, so that there would never be a challenge to the succession.
Another telling practice was the following: After Constantinople fell, and became Istanbul, great numbers of West-em slaves were continually being taken in raiding parties. Numbers of these slaves would be beheaded, and their heads affixed on pikes, to be paraded before the ambassador from whose country the beheaded slaves had been taken. This was a common Ottoman practice, as part of negotiations with the West.
Who were the allies of the Turk?
Yes, there was Venice—but there was also France. Francis I of France, from 1515 to 1547, was the main Western ally of the Turk. Let's take 1536—only 100 years after the Council of Florence, whose purpose, to beat back the Turk, had not been accomplished. In fact, more territory had been lost. The Mediterranean was being lost. Yet in 1536, the French became the commercial agents in the Ottoman Empire. Any Westerner who wanted to trade with the Ottoman Empire, had to go under the French flag, or have French government support. Otherwise, he would be executed. This arrangement was known as the Capitulations of 1536.
A year later, in 1537, the Turk attacked Italy—preceding which there had been, essentially, a secret treaty between France and the Ottoman Empire jointly to attack Italy. The year 1537 is a very important date. In 1529, the Ottoman Empire had taken Hungary, and had laid siege to Vienna. This is the time that the Reformation takes off.
The role of the Reformation
So, Western Europe is threatened with being overrun, and here are the Venetians and the French, who are allies of the Ottoman Turk. All of a sudden, there erupts a schism in Christianity. Any history book—or the Encyclopaedia Britannica—will tell you that Suleyman was able to take Hungary, because of the divisions fostered by the Reformation.
This is not a slander. Martin Luther himself had many different attitudes toward the Turk, at many different periods. But right at the beginning, he was very clear. In his Theses of 1517, Thesis 34 (of the 41 that were condemned by Papal Bull as being heretical), he wrote: "To fight the Turk, is to resist the judgment of God upon man's sins."
Here you have Lutheran theology, endorsing the idea of predestination, and here Luther says: Let the barbarians take over, because that's God's punishment for the sins of the West!
In 1522, Luther wrote a little poem: "The Turk is my name. May many Christians read the same, since to reform their ways and works, is the best defense against the Turks." It's the same idea: Reform, accept my theology—that's the only way you're going to fight the Turk. You can't fight the Turk, he is God's punishment.
Hence, the Protestant Reformation, Venice, and France, are the allies of the people that want to destroy everything that the Council of Florence meant. That fact is very crucial to an understanding of the "spin" that has been put on history by Anglo-Dutch historians, a spin that goes through the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, up until the present day.
Today, as a matter of fact, in most of the history we're taught in school, in the United States or in most parts of North America, one never hears about the Turk. The history that we know of the period about which I'm talking about, is the history of France versus Spain, England versus Spain, Italy, different wars, religious wars-—but one never hears about the major problem that existed in that era, namely, the Turk.
It's as if a history of 1920-90 were written, and the Soviet Union and China were never mentioned in it. There's a reason for this omission, and I'll get back to it later.
Luther at many points, of course, did write against the Turk; in fact, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles I of Spain, the great Hapsburg, made peace with Luther. Luther agreed to the peace in 1532, because the threat of the Turk was considered so great to Western Europe. But the significant fact is that Luther was preaching against the Crusades, and against providing the finances for the papacy—finances needed to fight the Turk. So, while he may have been saying that he opposed the Turk, the fact was that at all times he was questioning where the money was going.
I'll read, for example, a quote from one of the history books on Europe and the Turk: "In the material realm, the length between the Turkish advance and the reform movement was the question of finances. The reluctance of much of Europe"—being influenced by the Reformation —"to contribute funds for the Crusades, once the belief had gained ground that the ultimate destination of the monies collected by papal appeals, was quite a different one."2
So, Luther and the Reformation went right for the throat of what was necessary to militarily defend Western Christianity.
From the Court of the Sultan there was tremendous support for the Protestant Reformation.
First of all, on religious grounds, because the Turks viewed, with great happiness, the fact that the reform opposed what they called the worship of images—that is, from the crucifix to the statues of the saints, paintings—all the great art work of the medieval period and the Renaissance. All the art work that the Catholic Church had! Therefore, for religious reasons, the Turk had great hope. Second, of course, any schism would strengthen the Turks against what they considered their major enemies: the Hapsburgs and the papacy—Germany, Spain, and the papacy.
Usury and the allies of the Turk
The other great factor involving the allies of the Turk, was usury. We've already mentioned Venice. A great part of the usury in Venice, at that time, was controlled by Jewish usurious banking families. They financed great amounts of the publications of, the spreading of, the Reformation. Luther's translation of the Bible was financed and printed in Ferrara by a big Jewish publishing company of converses. These are the people that were expelled from Spain in 1492. The converses in Antwerp had gotten huge amounts of funds together by 1521, to provide for the publication of all Luther's works, everywhere, and by 1532, Diego Mendez (a converse, or expelled Jew from Spain) was the head of the Spice Trust being run from Venice, and controlled all the commercial activities within the Ottoman Empire.
Diego Mendez was a banker who had tremendous power and ran an international network, which included Salonika, Aleppo, and Venice. His older brother's widow in Venice was a woman named Gracia Mendez. His nephew, Joao Miques, was the favorite of Charles V's sister, Mary of Flanders, who at that time governed Flanders. Here was somebody who had been Jewish, had converted to Catholicism, and yet was the favorite of one of the Hapsburgs.
Even after 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain, there was no anti-Semitism. It was not a religious question. It was not a racial question. Their expulsion from Spain in 1492 had been a military question—the Jews had allied with the Moors, and for military reasons of state security, the Hapsburgs could no longer have the Jews in Spain.
Joao Miques later reconverted to Judaism and married the daughter of Gracia Méndez; his name now became Joao Miques Nasi, and he was the major banker in the court of Suleyman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Sultan. He was the Duke of Naxos with Suleyman the Magnificent and wanted to be the king of Cyprus; and he was known as the banker of the Turk.
This Joao Miques, or the Duke of Naxos, with the Nasi family, were also major correspondents with the different personalities of the Reformation, and they repeatedly lobbied and asked the different leaders of the Reformation to launch and continue their wars against Spain. In fact, they were in correspondence with William of Orange, and, until 1579, when the Duke of Naxos died, he was one of the key people helping fund the Reformation.
One could go on and on. In Antwerp, there were other Jewish families who converted first to become Lutherans, then converted to Calvinism, who were the key people around the court of William of Orange. The Perez family, for example, was very close to William of Orange. These were the court Jews of Venice, and a key network in Britain (beginning in 1578, when the British began to become major allies of the Ottoman Empire) which carried out espionage, sabotage, coordination of every major military effort by Britain against Spain, and the papacy.
The defense of Christianity
To sum up, we see the Ottoman Empire, run by the Venetians, aided and abetted by a whole number of powers in the West—first the French, then the Venetians, the Dutch, and later, England. You see that they were intent on crushing Western Christianity for the purpose of defending and expanding usury and oligarchism.
Read Gottfried Leibniz on this subject. Leibniz is very clear in backing the Hapsburgs, and aiming violent polemics against the French, for their position in refusing to defend against the Turk, in betraying Christianity to the Turk. For example, in 1683, just as the Turks laid siege to Vienna again, Leibniz wrote an essay called "Most Christian War God." That essay was very clear, and some of the most violent polemics that Leibniz ever used against anyone, he used to defend the Hapsburgs, and to attack those who were aiding and abetting the enemy of Western Christianity, the Turk.
Leibniz also pointed out, in his polemics against predestination and justification by faith alone, that this fatalism came from the East. He called it "Mohammedan fatalism."
Leibniz discussed the observation by some that the Turkish troops were so valiant in their battles, that they were willing to die, and they cared not for their lives, and fought to the death, because they had faith. Leibniz said, well, I don't think that's true. The reason they do that, he suggested, is because they've been smoking hashish. That was an important insight, because the Venetians and the Spice Trust trafficked liquor into the East, and among the spices that came back was also hashish—dope.
Looking once more at the Black Legend, what do we have? We have the fact that Spain, despite its many problems (including tendencies by the Holy Roman Emperors Charles V and Philip II almost to try to supplant Rome, and unite the military, political, and religious in one) defended the West. The defense of Christianity was carried out by Spain and Rome.
One of the greatest battles in that defense—and the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Empire—took place in 1571, at the point that the Venetians, the Spanish, and the papacy united, and took on the whole, huge Ottoman Empire fleet at Lepanto, Greece, and defeated it. Cervantes, the great Spanish writer, fought in that battle, and called it the greatest moment that history, that Christianity, would ever have, past, present and future. This was his claim to fame, that he had fought at Lepanto. All the Western world rejoiced when it found out the news of October 7, 1571 (actually it must have been later, since they didn't have CNN in those days), of the great victory the West had won.
Not surprisingly, as soon as the Western fleet had won, headed by Juan of Austria, Philip II's half-brother, Venice pulled out of the fleet. Yet here was the great moment to continue the battle: The great threat to the whole world, the Ottoman Navy, was crushed, destroyed, demolished. At this moment, if the Western navies had been resupplied, they could have gone on and cleaned up all the Ottoman Empire outposts, both in Northern Africa and in Greece, Constantinople. There was no problem at all involved in continuing, in order to finish off, once and for all, this oligarchical, barbarian power that was being thrown against Western Christianity.
But Venice pulled out, and said, no, we're allies of the Turk, we're allies of the Ottoman Empire.
It somehow reminds one, not accidentally, of the present alliance between the British and the Soviets. Britain has played this role systematically and consistently, in which—yes, they fought wars against the Soviets, yes, they're very anti-communist, yes—but, they also count on the Soviet Union. They built it up, they created it, and they want to use it to crush the West. We have the latest example of this, in the context of German unity, with the fact that Prime Minister Thatcher now has been quoted in the press: We want to use the Soviet Union against Germany.
The basis for this British policy is Venetian policy.
We come back to Spain. All the lies, all the sorts of things that are ascribed to Spain, were, obviously, circulated for a reason. The reason was, precisely, that Venice, the Turk, France, and, later, England and the Low Countries, necessarily had to attack Spain as being the most evil thing in the world, because these other countries were involved in a war against Christianity.
Spain in the New World
The Black Legend, of Spanish genocide against the Indians, bases itself on the report of a Spanish Dominican friar by the name of Bartolome de las Casas, who, in the early 1500s, wrote to the king, denouncing the horrifying treatment to which the Spanish Conquistadores had subjected the Indian populations. But, as has been proven historically, Bartolome de las Casas exaggerated tremendously. He was a very neurotic man, and wrote many things which were complete lies. We do not doubt his sincerity: He was trying to get action by King Charles V, to protect the Indians more, and that's the way his message was taken by the Crown— first by the Regent, and then by Charles V—namely, that he wanted to protect the Indians.
But then, his studies, or his letters, were published throughout the world in the mid-1500s, around 1550, by the British, by the Dutch, and by the Venetians; printed over and over again. This was war propaganda, to the effect that the Spanish were barbarians.
Among the first tracts identifying the horrors of Spain, was by one Girolamo Benzoni published in 1565—in Venice.
But all this went against what actually happened in the Conquest, and in the colonization of the Americas. The Spanish from the beginning—beginning with Isabella the Catholic, in 1494—forced Columbus to take slaves back to the New World and free them. Columbus had brought Indian slaves to Spain as presents, essentially, to the Crown. Isabella forced him to take them back, and give them back their freedom. A whole group of theologians and academics was summoned by Ferdinand, Isabella's husband, and they came to the conclusion—naturally—that the Indians were human beings, that they had their freedom, and that they could not be deprived of their freedom.
Ferdinand commissioned a tract to be written by one of the most famous of these academics, Palacio Rubios, who explicitly stated that the Indians were free by reason of natural law, and not only that, but that their property must be protected; that this had to be the case, even though it was obviously also true that, because of natural law, their sovereignty was canceled—that is, as independent states, if you will, given the savage condition in which the Spanish found them, and given that that meant that they could not, for the moment, govern themselves.
In 1532, there was a Congregation called, to deal with this question. It is true that some of the theologians in Spain, notably one by the name of Sepiilveda, held that you could enslave the Indians because of their backwardness, but this was roundly defeated.
So, from the position of Spain and the Crown, it was always the case that slavery of the Indians was denounced. Las Casas was not the only person who denounced it, and in fact he was not the most influential, or the most coherent. There were many other theologians, including the famous Vittoria, who stood up for the rights of the Indians.
What about this famous genocide, of 20 million, 40 million, some even say hundreds of millions?
Las Casas said that in Cuba, there were 200,000 Indians when the Spanish arrived. Others say that there were as many 1 million Indians; that Hispanola, today the Dominican Republic and Haiti, had 1 million. Sir Walter Raleigh, the famous British pirate, said that 300,000 were killed in La Es-panola by the Spanish. Antonio de Ulloa, a very famous Spanish traitor who was actually a British subject, wrote that there were 120 million Indians in the New World when the Spanish arrived.
These are all fantastic exaggerations, and even people like Alexander von Humboldt, who did not have access to a lot of records (I am talking about the beginning of the 1800s, when Humboldt made his expedition to the New World), said the reports were a great exaggeration, of how many Indians there had been, and how many had died. In fact, the people who have done the best population studies (based on archeological work, and archeological work that's based on relative population density; that is, what would it have taken to maintain what number of people under the present conditions of agriculture, and so on) have shown that all of these statistics were absolutely insane.
For example, there's a U.S. academic by the name of Bailey W. Diffie, who points out that at maximum, there were 1 million to 2 million Indians in all of Mexico; that Mexico City, which was an island in the middle of a lake, was three and a half square miles. Tenochtitlan, that is, Mexico City, which actually existed when Cortes arrived there, was just three and a half square miles. If you take modern-day London, and you say 12,000 people per square mile live in London, as a rule of thumb, then at most, even if the Mexican Indians were as advanced as possible, they had a maximum of 30-50,000 people in Mexico City.
But Diffie asks: How are these people maintained, and fed, given the fact that the Aztecs, because of religious reasons, did not believe in the wheel—they had wheels on toys, but they refused to use wheels for work purposes, and they had no beasts of burden? Feeding 30-50,000 people on an island, in the middle of a lake, was a mighty feat indeed.
For Peru, the same thing can be said. Shining Path apologists today say that there were 20 million Indians in Peru when the Spanish arrived—when, again, by using relative population density, for example, Diffie points out that there could have been, at most, only 1.5-2 million Indians. Our friend Luis Vasquez, of the ICLC, who has done a lot of research into this area, points out that at most there could have been 2-3 million Indians at that time.
So, the great myth of tens of millions being murdered by the Spanish, is not true.
Yes, a huge part of this population did die as soon as the Conquest began. But they died of epidemics.
As opposed to Asia and Africa, which had had, throughout hundreds of years, different types of contact with Western Europe, and therefore, a certain type of immunity built in, the New World was completely cut off from all contact with Europe, for thousands of years, one could argue. Therefore, when the Spanish came, whole Indian villages disappeared, whole areas disappeared—in places where the Spanish were not even present. The Spanish could not even have murdered those Indians, because the Spanish were not even there. The Indians just disappeared, because the epidemics spread so fast—very simple epidemics, from colds to all sorts of illnesses, for which the American Indian had absolutely no immunity.
Here, then, we have the real truth of the Spanish Conquest. Yes, there was slavery. In fact, there was black slavery. But even people like De Las Casas (who is the great hero, by the way, of the Theology of Liberationists), supported black slavery, more so than others. More so than Vittoria and the other theologians and important people in the court of Charles V and Philip II.
Yes, there was slave labor in some of the mines. Yes, there was slave labor in some of the encomiendas; but this was the exception, really, not the rule.
The colonization by Spain of the Americas was evangelization. Anybody who wants to really look at this, will have to look at it as a question of who are the great propagandists against Spain, or who are the great promoters of the Black Legend?
The promoters of the Black Legend
The Enlightenment was almost entirely responsible for the Black Legend: that's how the Enlightenment made its living. That's how they got paid. This is Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Raynal. These are the people who created the Black Legend, and they lied.
Voltaire, for example, compared Philip II to Tiberius, and says Tiberius compared favorably. If anybody thinks, well, that still doesn't save Philip II, so maybe Voltaire exaggerated, I would just remind people, that if Voltaire were alive today, he would say Lyndon H. LaRouche was worse than both Philip II and Tiberius.
What does the Black Legend cover up for?
The Black Legend is simultaneous and synonymous with the Reformation, with all the worst radical aspects of the Reformation.
It covers up for slave traders: The Dutch became the major slave traders in the sixteenth century. While they were publishing De Las Casas, while they were ranting and raving against Spain, they had become the premier slave-trading power of the world.
It covers up for usury, as Webster Tarpley discussed in his speech, in terms of Antwerp, and later Amsterdam. This was the major center for usury.
It covers up for Adam Smith.
It covers up for one of the great hoaxes in the world, the continuous stealing of church property. This is a major subject, an issue which actually began with the Ottoman Empire, where at one point, the Venetians advised the Sultan to seize all church property—not just Christian churches, but Islamic religious properties and so on, as a way to continue to pay the Venetians.
The seizure of church property was a great practice which developed then. The French Revolution, of course, immediately,seized all the property of the church, and backed up a tremendous loan that they carried, with the seized church property.
In the nineteenth century, in Latin America, all the great liberal revolutions, all based on Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, carried out a policy of seizing all of the church properties, in order to do what? In order to pay debt to the British.
For example, Mexico. Mexico was not a debtor country in 1810. Mexico was a creditor nation. It loaned money to Spain. It was a rich country. Once independence took place, the British forced a loan on Mexico, and from that day on (they never gave them the money—this was modern-day finances), continuously pushed, through agents and directly, for all church property to be seized, in order to pay the British debt. This is debt for equity; this is what's going on in Latin America today. Today, it's no longer church property, since that was seized last time. Today, it's all the state sector, and all national wealth. Debt for equity. What Kissinger came up with at Vail, Colorado, was not an original idea: It was based on a long tradition of usury.
What was the Inquisition really?
Then there is the question of democracy. It's always raised concerning bigotry, religious persecution. Yes, there is no question that in Spain, there was religious persecution: not of other religions, but of any Catholic who was a heretic. The Inquisition did persecute them, that's true. But who were the people who were screaming for "religious liberty"? Calvin, the French, the Dutch, and the British. For example, take Calvin. In the very brief time that he ruled dictatorially over Geneva, which was a very small city, he burnt more people at the stake per capita of population, than Spain had ever done, in hundreds of years of the Inquisition.
Also bear in mind that the Inquisition was an overall European institution, not a purely Spanish institution. Why not talk about the genocide that the English Reformation carried out against the Irish? Why not talk about the horrendous genocide on both sides—on the side of the Protestants, and on the side of the Catholics—that occurred in France during the eighteenth century?
You cannot talk about religious liberty if you're not going to discuss the situation in the rest of Europe at that time. Democracy? That too is always talked about. In this discussion, it's very important to understand that Bush invaded Panama for the sake of democracy. That was one of the reasons that the invasion of Panama was carried out. You may think that what I'm saying is somewhat unbelievable, but remember that if somehow we were to lose, 200-300 years from now it would have gone down in history that Noriega was a dictator, a drug-trafficker, a murderer, the worst bloodthirsty dictator in the history of the twentieth century. That's the way it will go down. The fact that all the "cocaine" that was supposedly found in Noriega's headquarters turned out to be tamales, won't be recorded, except in some obscure footnotes which someone like us will dig out from some library.
The Black Legend in the United States
What has this meant to U.S. history, this Black Legend?
As Webster Tarpley said in his speech, the notion of Manifest Destiny comes directly from that of predestination. If you are part of an elect few—or, as Jefferson said, "We are the chosen people, like Israel," we have a covenant—then, therefore, what you do is right. Expansionism based itself on that supposedly theological-religious principle: that the elect few, the predestined elect few, had the right to expand massively. This notion colors all of U.S. history, this Manifest Destiny, and with it, violent racism against the Hispanics.
I'll read to you from a fellow by the name of Walter Prescott Webb, the most famous Texas historian, writing a book on the Texas Rangers: "Without disparagement, it may be said that there is a cruel streak in the Mexican nature, or so the history of Texas would lead one to believe. This cruelty may be a heritage from the Spanish of the Inquisition [the Black Legend, right?—FQ]. It may, and doubtless should, be attributed partly to the Indian blood. The Mexican warrior was, on the whole, inferior to the Comanche, and wholly unequal to the Texan. The whine of the leaden slugs stirred in him an irresistible impulse to travel with, rather than against, the music. He won more victories over the Texans by parley, than by force of arms. For making promises and for breaking them, he had no peer."
This attitude continued in the Texas war, in the war during which the United States annexed half of Mexico, or acquired one-third of the United States, and continued with the Spanish-American War. It continues to this day.
When Bush gets up there, and justifies the invasion of Panama, because he's promoting democracy, this is the continuation of the Black Legend.
I want to point out that this 1992 celebration of the Fifth Centennial is fundamental, and the onslaught by the pagans who are trying to destroy Christianity today, has just begun. You're going to hear this, day in and day out. You're going to be bombarded on TV, with how great the Aztecs were, how great the Incas were, and how brutal the Spanish, and the Inquisition were.
Gnostics, kooks, and Cathars
This is the battle to destroy Christianity. The Inquisition was first established in the thirteenth century, as a European-wide institution with the purpose of fighting the Satanic movement called Catharism. Today, the crucial fact is that the Queen of England, the head of the Anglican Church— and precisely the head of the World Council of Churches, if you will—is essentially a Cathar, a gnostic. This is the same World Council of Churches which is denouncing any celebrations of 1992. Her husband, her consort, Prince Philip, is going around the world defending animal rights. I'll read to you some quotes which prove conclusively, that this is a gnostic Cathar position.
The Cathars developed out of the Manichean heresy, a gnostic heresy, and arrived in Western Europe from Bulgaria, through the Bogomils. The Bogomils were also known as "buggers," and this became synonymous with homosexuality, because this is what they promoted. That is why homosexuality was so prevalent in the British Court, and in the Venetian Court—because they were gnostics, they were Cathars, members of secret satanic cults.
"They called themselves the Cathari, or the pure, [Puritans]. They were a secret society with an inner circle of initiates known as the Perfected. To join their True Church, as they called it, one must promise to (1) to renounce the Catholic Faith (for they held that the Mass was idolatry, the Eucharist a fraud and an abomination, since bread and wine were creations of the evil spirit. . . ."
The Church of Rome, they said, is the Whore of Babylon, and the Pope the Anti-Christ.
The initiated promised, "among other things, never to touch a woman (buggers—FQ]. Never to kill an animal, never to eat meat, eggs, milk, or any other food that came from animals [to which souls of human beings might have transmigrated—besides, animals were the result of sexual intercourse]," which was evil. There was no greater sin, than sexual procreation, because you were advancing evil.
"Indeed, the aversion to women seemed to be the chief and common characteristics of these sects. . . . The Cathari called marriage prostitution, and held that carnal intercourse between the sexes was the original sin of Adam and Eve, and the greatest of all sins, since it begot children. Even perversion, therefore, was preferable in their eyes to marriage. Their fanatical logic translated the dogma that life was evil into the most shocking kind of action, a veritable ritual of suicide and murder. They would ask a sick man, or any other candidate for death, whether he wished to be a' martyr,' or a confessor. If a martyr, he was smothered with a pillow. If a confessor, he was starved to death. Even babies were thus barbarously murdered."
So we see that euthanasia is a Cathar practice. Abortion is a Cathar practice!
"Such was the result of a doctrine which regarded a pregnant woman as possessed by a devil and, if she died in childbirth, certain to go to Hell. The endura, in fact cost more lives than the Inquisition ever did."3
Here you have such things committed by the enemies of the Inquisition. They and their defenders are the ones who have written volumes and volumes against the Inquisition and Spain. But even some of the violent attackers of the Inquisition and of the Catholic Church, like Lea, have pointed out, "Had Catharism become dominant, or even if it had been allowed to exist on equal terms, its influence could not have failed to prove disastrous. ... It was not only a revolt against the Church, but a renunciation of man's dominance over nature."4
In fact, that's what we have today: ecologists, animal rights, Prince Philip—this is all Catharism. Let's talk about the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Their guru has stated: Do not eat anything that has sexual urges, or that practices sexual intercourse. That's the tell-tale sign: This is Catharism. This is "religious"; it has nothing to do with hippies or not eating meat. It is a satanic cult practice. The lawyer for PETA is Philip Hirschkopf. Hirschkopf was the lawyer against Lyndon LaRouche in the NBC case. Hirschkopf was the lawyer against LaRouche in a case in which they tried to steal, and did steal, land from LaRouche's associates, the Sweetwater Farm case. And Hirschkopf was the lawyer for a fellow in Leesburg, Virginia who said that LaRouche and his friends went around killing animals. The newspaper columnist Mike Royko in Chicago and this fellow in Leesburg and several other people have accused us of systematically killing animals. All this is Catharism, and it goes all the way up to the Queen of England.
Lyndon LaRouche is in jail because he attacked the Queen of England and Catharism, gnosticism. This is the enemy that we have to defeat. All the wonderful ideas that we are discussing here—the European industrial Triangle, the creation of a new Renaissance, LaRouche's ideas on music and science—cannot be carried out unless we actually defeat this enemy, once and for all.
1. Lyndon LaRouche, Project A, 1990 unpublished manuscript.
2. Dorothy M. Vaughan. Europe and the Turk, 1350-1700, New York : AMS Press. 1954.
3. William Thomas Walsh, Characters of the Inquisition, Rockford, III., 1987.
From EIR October 19, 1990