When Columbus's second voyage departed from Cadiz on September 25, 1493, there was little doubt that the seventeen ships and 1500 men were an intimidating sight.Throughout the letter from Michele da Cuneo to Hieronymo Annari, one of the main themes that we repeatedly see is the Europeans using their intimidation to get what they want from the natives.In some cases as we will delve into later, this simple intimidation factor is taken too far and lives are lost.
One thing that is constantly mentioned in the letter is that almost every time the Spanish run across a new island, they natives flee back into the woods or mountains.This proves that the size and reputation of the Europeans is intimidating to the natives.This is a very important point because the Europeans have an easy upper hand if they don't need to use force to make the natives respect them.
One of thefirst islands the ships run across is like many of the other islands, inhabited by cannibals.The Cannibals flee for the woods, and Columbus and his men land on the shore and begin exploration.Eleven of the men decide to join a raiding party to see what they can pillage from the natives.We see the same thing happen on the second island the men land upon."As soon as the Cannibals sighted us they fled toward the woods, just as they had done on the other island; they abandoned their houses, which we proceeded to and took whatever we wished." (89)In these two examples, we see the Europeans using their intimidation and power to their favor.
One thing that there is a great deal of in the letter is the Europeans taking slaves and captives back to Spain.The capturing of slaves and captives serves many purposes at the time.Thefirst is to show the king what these individuals looked like, or in some cases, how they were treated by other individuals.On thefirst island the men run across, they seize twelve teenage girls and two…