The Renaissance Spaniards and the Hindus
Conquered Mexico -- Together!
By Gene D. Matlock for Viewzone
When I first went to study and live in Mexico, during the late 1940s, the Mexicans frequently criticized the maltreatment we white Americans were giving African-Americans at the time. As proof of their "humaneness," they bragged that they had liberated their negros in 1824, but we waited until 1865 to do it.
Although I fell in love with Mexico from the beginning, I didn't see anything admirable in the Mexicans' treatment of one another, especially of their indigenous Indians. Many even told me that the pygmy Otomís weren't human. I decided to keep my eyes and ears open, to see if they were hiding any skeletons in their own historical and cultural closet. I didn't have to wait very long. I became friends with a young Korean-Mexican girl, whose mother owned a tiny grocery store in our neighborhood. Her mother told me that she had been a slave on a plantation in the state of Yucatan and was released from her involuntary servitude in 1924 -- nearly 70 years after we freed our own slaves. Moreover, I found out that the Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish and English colonialists had shipped hundreds of thousands of Hindus, Chinese, and Koreans, either voluntarily or involuntarily to Mexico, Central America, South America, the Philipines and even Africa, becoming liberated "only God knows when." Here's how it all happened.
First of all, I want to emphasize that the Spaniards themselves never conquered Mexico as a single group. We speak of the "Spanish conquest" because our mental conditioning forces us to see it as a "conquest." All the Spaniards did was to advise and direct the tribes who wanted the Aztecs put out of business. After the conquest, small numbers of Spaniards led the remaining Aztec Yautl or warriors to the places they wanted to dominate. A small number of Spaniards and a large group of Aztec warriors conquered the American southwest. Aztecs and Amerindian warriors led by the Spaniards even conquered the Philipine islands! At any time they chose, these Amerindian warriors could have turned on and defeated their Spanish masters. The same is also true of the Spaniards' domestic slaves, miners, and farm-workers.
The Spaniards tried unsuccessfully to enslave the Amerindians. However, because of diseases the Spaniards brought with them and poor treatment, an estimated 10 million or more Aztecs died, ten to fifteen years after the former arrived.
Among the Tarascan or Michoacán Indians, of an estimated million, only about 5,000 survived the White man's sicknesses and the cruel treatment of their conqueror, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán (1496-1544), who came to control Michoacán, Jalisco, and Nayarit, where several tribes lived. In 1530, there were an estimated 200,000 Tahuas. In 1530, only 16,000 remained alive. In 1530, there were approximately 210,000 Totorones; 5,000 in 1565; only 2,000 were alive in 1570. In some areas, certain tribes were completely annihilated. An unknown chronicler wrote that Guzmán was the most horrible and perverse man to ever set foot in New Spain, The cleric, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, called him the Great Tyrant. He was finally sent back to Spain where he died in 1594. Later on, the Spanish crown and the clerics forced their fellow Spaniards to treat the Indians more humanely.
One of the saviors of the Purépechas or Tarascans was Vasco de Quiroga (1470-1565), the first bishop of Michoacán. Under his direction, the Purépechas learned to make guitars, pottery, fine copper ware, lacquered wood products, furniture, woolen clothing, and other products. The Purépechas are now regarded as among the most skilled craftsmen in Mexico. The Purépechas revere Vasco de Quiroga almost as a god, calling him Tata Vasco (Daddy Vasco).
It is a strange anomaly that nearly all the regions of central to northern New Spain (Mexico) have Sanskrit and Turkish names, as follows: Michoacán, derived from the Phoenician Turkish Meshi (Messiah) + Can, meaning Kingdom; Tarasco (Turushka, meaning Turk) or Purépecha (Perú-pacha [Peruvian Lord]). Most authorities are in agreement that many Tarascans came from Perú because of similarities in their respective languages. Eduardo Ruíz wrote in his book, Michoacán:
...I was surprised to see an analogy between ancient Perú and Michoacán. The two peoples had the same institutions, the same religious practices, similar legends, and both adored the sun. In Perú, in Venezuela, and in other regions of South America, we find many Tarascan names, on whose nearly identical similarities I have to insist in this work. (p. 25.)
Nayarit received its name in honor of the hereditary line of the region's rulers: Nayar. Sinaloa derives from the Sanskrit Senaloha, meaning "copper colored men." Having traveled extensively in Sinaloa, I noticed that most of the Sinoloan Amerindians have beautiful reddish copper colored skin. There are several Sanskrit names for certain villages in Sinaloa, such as Cosalá.
Jalisco (pronounced as Hah-LEES-koh), is a Turkish and Greek name for "Sun God." The Spaniards did not pronounce and write the name of Sonora correctly. It derives from Sonoita. A Hindu devil was called Sunita. Sonora's hot, dry desert is truly a hell.
Chihuahua, which lies on the Texas border, derives from Shiva-Va, meaning Dwelling of Shiva. Texas, or Tejas, as it is spelled in Spanish, derives from The Sanskrit Tejas, a name of God Shiva.
Part of New Mexico was called Cibola (Buffalo), derived from the Sanskrit Za-Bala (Cow of Plenty).The Buffalo was a cow of plenty. It supplied the Amerindians with meat, skins for clothing and their tents, bones for tools and weapons, and many other blessings.
After the holocaust of the Aztecs, the Spaniards had to find other people to enslave. Many thousands of Africans were brought in. When I was attending college in Mexico, I took a course dealing with Negro slavery there, Our instructor said that at one time, more Africans and Aztecs lived in Mexico City than Spaniards. Of course, that news should surprise no one. At no time during the conquest-or after- did the Spaniards even come close to outnumbering the native Americans and Negroes. They were always a tiny minority in Mexico.
The enslavement of Africans didn't work either, for they refused to be worked to death. Also, they were continually escaping or causing insurrections. The Spaniards soon learned that they had to be extremely careful about whom they enslaved, in order to preserve their hegemony in the region. They left the africanos alone to fend for themselves. Most of them migrated to the coasts of Veracruz and Guerrero. Those who stayed behind intermarried with the indigenous Mexicans. When I was a young man, the inhabitants of Collantes, a village in Guerrero state, still lived in African-style huts and spoke a degraded Bantu. I still remember groups of sparsely-clothed Africans, their faces painted white and beating drums, worshiping in Acapulco's cathedral.
To give you an idea of how only a few Spaniards dominated the Mexican natives, only 50 Spaniards, along with their Amerindian mercenary troops, were able to conquer the fierce Yaquis in Northern Mexico. They kept Northern Mexico under control for fifty years without the loss of a single Spaniard. Of course, I can't say the same about their Amerindian warriors. (See History of the Triumphs of Our Holy Faith Amongst the Most Barbarous and Fierce Peoples of the New World, by Father Andrés Pérez de Ribas.)
The Spaniards finally decided to bring in hordes of Hindus, as well as lesser numbers of Koreans, and Chinese. History records that Hindu slaves were brought in by the tens of thousands. This is a matter of record. It cannot be disproved.
Where such cities as Mexico City, Puebla, and other early provincial cities were concerned, more Hindus than Spaniards and Indians were there because they had to fill the vacuum left by all the dead Aztecs and the freed Negro slaves. Had they the will do so, the slaves could have easily defeated the Spaniards and driven them back to Spain.
As I have said, Mexican history leaves no doubt about how and why the Indians and Negroes were enslaved. But it says literally nothing about the Hindus, Koreans, and Chinese, other than that they came in. Now, if history proves that tens of thousands of them -- and more-were brought to Mexico against their will, why don’t our history books tell us this, coming up with names, dates, and other facts?
Here's the answer. When the Spanish and Portuguese captured prospective slaves, they didn't care who they were and what their social status was. One day, a young 11 or 12 year old Hindu girl named Meera and her brother were walking together on a West Indian beach. A band of Portuguese pirates captured them and then set sail to Cochin, on the Malabar coast. Many years after her capture, Meera told her Jesuit confessors that she thought she was from "some place in Rajasthan or probably also from Gujarat... in the bosom of a princely family."
Like the Moslems, the Renaissance Spanish Catholics did not think it improper to convert people by force, forcing Christian names on them, and destroying their ethnic awareness. The Jesuits evangelized and baptized Meera against her will, giving her a Christian name. Years later in Mexico, she told a Father Jose del Castillo Graxeda, "The name given to me at the baptismal font was Catarina de San Juan."
After she was captured and "converted" to Catholicism, the pirates took her to Manila, mistreating her frequently. In Manila, during a procession of penitents carrying crosses on their shoulders, a vision of Jesus Christ appeared to her, saying, "I will become your father." From then on she had numerous holy visions during the rest of her life.
In 1621, a slave ship carrying her and other slaves laid anchor in Acapulco harbor. A rich merchant of Puebla bought her as a house servant. She remained an humble slave in his household for the rest of her sad life, dying at age 82.
In those days, the aristocratic and wealthy Spanish residents of Mexico and the immigrant slaves lived in separate societies because of the strict caste system in vogue at the time. The Spanish aristocrats, the slaves, and the Amerindians even dressed differently.
Only the priests were close to these immigrants. Among the Hindu and Chinese "converts," who vastly outnumbered the Spaniards, she immediately became famous for her saintliness and devotion to the Church. Along with her visions, she was also reputed to foretell the future. Both the priests and slave population loved and revered her. She married a Chinese slave named Domingo, but she refused to be intimate with him because of her vows of chastity. Finally, the frustrated Domingo left her.
Although her confessors, Fathers Graxeda And Ramos, as well as the large Hindu and Chinese slave population, regarded her as a great saint, her masters still mistreated her, making her life deplorably miserable. After all, according to their way of thinking, she was just a slave meant to give her life to her exalted owners. No freedom and respect for her -- ever.
Her fellow Hindus might have additionally respected Meera because of her high caste status. Back in India, Meera's father had been a Raja of a certain principality, a physician, and a yogi. Meera described her father as a member of the ruling Kshattriya or a Brahmin priest. His spiritual powers were so great that he was said to even control storms.
True to her high caste status, Meera refused to wear the traditional dress of Mexican indigenous women -- a single piece dress called Huipil (Wee-PEEL). Instead, she wore the traditional type of dress she had worn back in India. The populace called her and her dress La China Poblana (The Chinese Puebla girl), although she wasn't Chinese. In those days, any slaves brought in from Asia were called Chinos even though they were not.
Above: Painting of the Spaniards talking to the Aztecs through their interpreter
Malina, the Mexican "Pocahantas." Notice that she is wearing a Huipil.
Homesick Hindu women, wanting to express pride in their origins, began to dress like Meera. The China Poblana dress gradually became the favorite style of the immigrants. The slave women in towns throughout Mexico quickly adopted her form of dress. For many years, the native Mexican continued wearing their huipils. Nowadays, they may wear either huipils or china poblanas. Each region of Mexico has its own style of china poblana.
Above: Three different regional styles of china poblanas.
It is natural to assume that the Hindu slaves did not immediately speak Spanish. Meera, though psychic, also needed a few years to become fluent in to the language of her masters. Among themselves, they surely spoke their respective native languages.
In 1688, Meera died from respiratory complications and other diseases, as well as from the suffering and humiliations heaped on her by her heartless Spanish owners.
The news of her death spread throughout all the Hindu and Chinese slave populations in central Mexico. Thousands of grieving slaves filled the streets, even committing acts of vandalism. The history books tell us that as they thronged the streets, they tore down the doors of the aristocratic Spaniards, breaking windows, stealing and committing all sorts of mayhem. Spanish guards had to quell them down. Was that a slave insurrection?
Meera is believed to be buried in El Templo de la Compañía, in Puebla.
As a person wanting to take the fairy tales out of history, I know full well how preconditioning paralyzes and stupefies the human mind. We must not allow the truth about Mexico’s Hindu and Chinese slaves to be hidden any longer. In case anyone thinks I have written lies, let us pause briefly in order to think more rationally.
Some Food for Thought.
We must not lose sight of the fact that if the Hindu Meera and her Chinese husband Domingo were slaves, it just stands to reason that they weren't the only Asian slaves in Mexico. There were many thousands of them. Additionally, the fact that the indigenous Mexicans and the slaves were both called Indios (Indians) could have caused much confusion.
Don't forget that the Spaniards were a significant minority in colonial Mexico. In 1570, the Black population was three times that of the Spanish. In the 1600s, It was 2.5 times larger. In 1742, Blacks still outnumbered them. Only in 1810, did the Spanish population begin to outnumber the Blacks. Add the Blacks, the Amerindians, and the slaves together, and the Spanish minority would have been extremely tiny.
As the Africans were phased out of the slave population, Little by little, the Hindus came to comprise the majority of the slave population with smaller amounts of Koreans and Chinese.
The Amerindians in Mexico City spoke almost no Spanish at all. It took them many decades to learn Spanish. Even in my time, the country Aztecs could not generally speak it. When I was a young college student in Mexico, my Nahuatl professor told us that an estimated 50,000 Aztecs in Mexico City itself still could not speak Spanish, Therefore, it is only logical to assume that there was little or no cultural interchange between the slaves and the native Aztecs. We must also bear in mind that in the caste system of the time, there would've been little or no social interaction anyway between the slave population and the Amerindians. Most of them probably didn’t even know Meera existed. However, single Spanish men and Amerindian women did marry, forming the mixture we today call mestizos.
Even today, the China Poblana dress implies a caste distinction, worn mainly at dances and celebrations by the peasant class. I can almost guarantee that the high and mighty folks in Mexico probably wouldn't even wear such dresses to a costume party.
In 1810, the declaration of independence of Mexico demanded the ban of African and Amerindian slavery, as well as the caste system. Apparently, the Asian slaves were not included in this declaration. But they would have benefited from the abolition of castes.
In 1820, enslavement of Blacks was formally abolished by Augustine Iturbide in his Plan de Iguala. In 1824, a constitution was adopted, that actually freed them. Unfortunately, these constitutional laws said nothing at all about Hindus, Chinese, and Koreans. It could also be true that by this time, the Asians had been given serf or semi-free status.
For these reasons, and because of the Church's suppression of such information, the Hindus, Chinese, and Koreans were left out of Mexico's history books, other than the historical fact that they came here. After Meera's death, the Jesuits wrote three books about Meera's life. But the Church confiscated these books and burnt all of them, giving all kinds of reasons to justify their actions.
In reality the Church never did burn all those books or any others of which they disapproved. The Vatican library surely keeps some copies on its shelves. I guarantee it. But times have changed. I'm sure they would have them reprinted if people demanded that they do so. And if they wouldn't? Well, there's always DNA. It will definitely prove that many millions of Mexicans still have Hindu blood flowing in their veins.
Here's the real reason why the Church wanted to erase her memory from the minds of the Mexicans. Because of the cruelty of the Spaniards, many Amerindian tribes from all over the Americas were already rising up against them, including the Negro slaves in the Caribbean area. For a while, the Spaniards were even driven out of New Mexico.
Noting how the Hindu and Chinese slaves worshiped Meera, the Church feared they would use her memory as a rallying point to start a slave insurrection. The Spaniards knew they would never be able to survive such an insurrection among people who outnumbered them so heavily.
What they didn't know is that such an insurrection lay far in the future, for the dress called China Poblana wasn’t the only legacy Meera and her fellow Hindu slaves left behind. That legacy was the Hindu caste system.
After Meera's death, the Hindu and Chinese slaves slowly lost their respective languages and ethnic collective identities. At the beginning of their enforced servitude they lost their original names, being forced to take on Christian names. One hundred years later, they came to entirely forget their Hindu origins. Physically, they looked like the indigenous Mexicans from the very beginning. The physical similarities made it easy for them to assimilate. Between the years 1799 and 1804, the renowned German geographer and naturalist, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, traveled throughout Central and South America, spending more time in Mexico than in any other country. Von Humboldt was shocked to see the terrible caste system under which the Mexicans were living. During a recent trip that my wife and I took to Mexico, we saw an exhibit in Chapultepec Castle, about Mexican life and society during the early 19th century. What we saw in that exhibit was proof enough for me that Mexico had inherited the Hindu caste system which it formally outlawed in 1810. Don't fail to see that exhibit if you ever visit Mexico.
The Mexicans themselves state that the deplorable conditions in their caste-ridden nation sparked their revolution of 1910-1921. At long last, the Hindu slaves fought and won their freedom from enforced servitude! But even now, vestiges of that casteism still remain. Much more still needs to be done.
Above: The revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa [left] and Emiliano Zapata [right]. Little did they know that they were trying to end the legacy of casteism they inherited from the Hindu slaves.
We often read about "conspiracy theories." The cover-up of the part the Hindus played in the "Spanish Conquest" is one of the greatest cover-ups in human history!
History must be fair to the Hindus. They have been bringing their blood to the Americas for the past several thousand years. They are truly "grass roots." Meera and her countrymen were not the last to come. Again they have returned to us.
Gene is author of the book, What Strange Mystery Unites the Turkish Nations, India, Catholicism, and Mexico?Back to Viewzone || Comments?