Alfonso Borregogreat-grandson of Geronimo, the legendary Apache leader who has been dealt with long and badly by Hollywood, is an ardent defender of the legacy of Spanish colonization and the ethnic and cultural miscegenation that characterized it.
As a historian and as president of the Society of the Cultural Heritage of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro he spends a good part of his time dismantling the Black Legend of Conquest. In one of those talks, Borrego talked about the origin of the Thanksgiving Day which is commemorated in the United States every year on the third Thursday of November.
Borrego told how was the encounter with the aborigines of those first English settlers who came to Plymouth Rockin what is now Massachusetts, in 1620. The local tribe, the wampanoag, they helped them survive, to overcome the winter, they taught them to farm. The colonists repaid them by inviting them to a meal that included the famous turkey, today traditional in that festival. A celebratory meal for good harvests and thanks.
But in that region there are no Indians to thank anymore, Borrego explained. “Where are the Wampanoags?” he asked. “There is not one, there is not. Do you know why? Because the difference between an English and a Spanish is that the English killed all the Indians.”
Alfonso Borrego made an impressive comparison: “It is very easy: if you go to the states with Spanish names, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah [N. de la R: deriva de Yuta, pronunciación española de la palabra apache yudah], California, Texas, Florida; in those states are the reservations of the Indians. Today. But there is no reservation in Iowa, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia… nothing. Do you know why?
The Texan historian adds something that is evident and that is only being denied by indigenismo, whose purpose, before defending the rights of aboriginal peoples, is to look for arguments in the past to deepen the social and national fragmentation in the present: “ That difference is not only in the United States. Let’s go to the nations with the Spanish name. Mexico: there are the Indians. you can go to Central America, Nicaragua, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica; you can go to Peru, you can go to Chileyou can go to Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay: there are the Indians. you can go to Brazila Argentina, there are the Indians. you can jump to Puerto Ricoa Cuba, they are there. you can go to Dominican Republicwhere the Spaniards first arrived, there are the Indians”.
What happens instead in the areas that were dominated by the English or by other powers apart from Spain? “We’re going to the Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands, not one Indian. Bahamas, not an Indian. Bonaire, not an Indian. Aruba, Jamaica, Cayman Islands”enumerate Borrego.
His conclusion is lapidary: “Where the English were, there is no Indian, that is the difference. And that is what we want to tell the world, open your eyes: who killed the indians? Who? Englishmen. Not the Spanish.”
However, it is fashionable in the United States to overturn, decapitate, or vandalize statues of Christopher Columbus. In some states they have canceled the festivities for the Columbus Day (October 12 °). In Argentina, the anti-Hispanic iconoclasm promoted by the eternal powerhouses of the black legend led to the displacement of the monument to Christopher Columbus from the Casa Rosada property to hide it on the waterfront.
Another absurdity is the attacks against the figure of Friar Junipero Serrathe Franciscan who created the missions on the west coast of the United States and which gave rise to the main cities in that region and for this reason have religious names: San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Los Angeles…
It may interest you: What is behind the campaign against Columbus and the Franciscan work in California
“The tribes tell you that the Spanish committed many atrocities and stole everything, but they have nothing written, nothing consistent, it is simply a story that is in the oral tradition and that is how it is told generation after generation. And people don’t think, they don’t ask questions, they just repeat what they’ve heard”, Alfonso Borrego told the Spanish press when participating in the conference on “Black Legend. Fake news in the Spanish conquest”, in Granátula de Calatrava (Castilla), on October 12. It was actually the American settlers, during their westward expansion, who wiped out the Indians, he explained.
Borrego rejects that the Spanish should “ask for forgiveness.” And he underlines an essential difference between Spanish colonization and others: “When the Spanish arrived here they mixed with the natives. It’s two cultures combining and creating things. That for me is a wonderful and beautiful thing ”.
The mere existence of the Spanish-American nations, with their high proportion of mestizo and indigenous populations, confirm what Borrego says: “Really there was no genocide in the states with a Spanish name, because the Indians are still there. If you want to say that there was genocide in the rest of the United States, say so, but who was it? The Spanish were not there.
As the Spanish historian highlights Maria Elvira Roca Bareaauthor of Imperiophobia and Black Legend, today’s attacks in the name of indigenismo are directed especially against figures or symbols of the Spanish-Catholic world, while the same is not the case with those of Anglo-Saxon Protestantism that, in the case of the indigenous people of the United States, if it is a retroactive judgment, they have much more responsibility in their sad destiny. However, from these same sectors comes the black legend of the Spanish conquest, which was born in the 16th century, within the framework of the Protestant uprising in the Netherlands against Spanish rule, and since then it has always been promoted by the colonial competitors of Madrid.
Friar Junipero Serra “he never had slaves or killed anyone”, says Roca Barea. But the Spaniards were and are pointed out as scapegoats for the extermination of the Indians.
“Yes today California is the most populous and richest of the regions of the United States, it must recognize its origin in Junípero Serra and admit, as it proclaims the Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gómez, that the true founding fathers of the United States were Catholic and Spanish-speaking,” said an article in Religion in Liberty (22/6/2022).
As if the present evidence were not enough, we have the testimony, at the end of the 18th century, of Alexander von Humboldt, the man who relieved geography and studied the social and demographic reality of America and communicated it to his contemporaries, denying the myths that circulated throughout Europe.
Between 1799 and 1804, the Prussian Humboldt toured Venezuela, Cuba, Colombiathe actual Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and the USA from North America.
As director of the Center for Hispanic American Research at the University of Paris X, Nanterrethe teacher Charles Minguet wrote, in Humboldt’s America: “In Mexico, Humboldt counts 70,000 pure Spaniards, 1 million Creoles considered white and one million five hundred thousand mestizos declared (or 25 percent)”.
Humboldt is impressed by the development of Spanish cultural institutions in America. For example, says Minguet, “note that the scientific and cultural establishments in Mexico (College of Mining, Botanical Garden, Academy of Fine Arts, University) are as important as those in the United States.” “No European government has sacrificed more considerable amounts to promote knowledge of plants than the Spanish government,” says Humboldt.
But Humboldt is also the first to deny the indigenous genocidesays Minguet: “The essential data that Humboldt gives are (…) of a statistical nature, and thanks to the figures he produces, educated Europe, deafened, throughout the eighteenth century, by the screams of horror of the tearful Indianistas , learns that there are, in the Spanish possessions of America, 7 and a half million Indiansto which may be added 5 and a half million mestizosbe a total of 13 million Indians and mestizos or mulattoes, who represent the 80 percent of the total population of Spanish America”.
“These figures -concludes Charles Minguet- mean that, at the end of the 18th century, the Amerindian population had reached or surpassed the figure assumed on the eve of the Conquest. If Humboldt does not forget to underline the enormous losses caused by the abuses of certain settlers and the European diseases imported into America, he is the first non-Spanish European to annul the conviction of his contemporaries of the total destruction of the indigenous population by the Spanish. ”.
Alfonso Borrego says that it is very difficult to dismantle the falsehoods about Spanish colonization because this anti-Hispanic story is installed in the educational system in the United States. The reality is not very different in Argentina, where they are trying to make official history of the fake news of the aboriginal genocide.
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