The Ethnic Propaganda of America's Origins
As I study the Spanish conquest of the Americas, an obvious interesting fact stands out:
Spain controlled America for longer than modern America has been around.
When people, like the Trump movement, talk about making America great again, or returning to our roots, this is a very particular and narrow-minded statement.
Because even if we exclude the Native Americans, as most people are shockingly able to do with flippant ease, Renaissance Spain conceived, funded, and adventured the Americas on behalf of themselves & the entire world.
Columbus pitched to the King of England, for example. But he was not interested in taking the bold first step. In other words, it wasn't in the British nature at the time. And it may not be in the British nature, period - to go boldly where others have not before.
But it was in the case of Spain. And I feel that spirit lives on in America today.
But somehow we don't associate Spain with America at all.
Spanish people (indeed, all Hispanics) are considered "brown" - we are outsiders and even the targets of the current president's public scapegoating. It's the illegal brown people ruining everything, he (and his followers) argue. Hispanic people are outsiders: including people from Spain, the nation that ironically holds the strongest legacy to America.
Spain isn't even in the vaguest picture of America's cultural myth.
It seems as if most people in America aren't even quite sure who was behind the Discovery Voyages of Columbus.
Was it Portugal? Genoa? Spain? Surely they only "discovered" it, then Britain took charge and created America through their awesome vision of modernity... right?
I mean, not really. That's what they teach us in elementary school. And I suspect it's to build a national myth that is friendly to the current power structure. But it's not the truth.
The truth isn't something I'm in possession of, by the way.
But I can see through my research that the official myth is NOT the truth.
And in that negation of the official story, there is truth enough.
America was officially founded in 1776. In 9 years we will be approaching the 250 year anniversary of contemporary America.
Spain conquered the America's in 1492, and did not give up control of Florida until 1819. That's over 320 years of a Spanish controlled America.
H.G. Wells justifies the Spanish-American paradox as such in his "Outline of History: Volume II"
It is a misfortune for science that the first Europeans to reach America were these rather incurious Spaniards, without any scientific passion, thirsty for gold, and full of the blind bigotry of a recent religious war.
They made few intelligent observations of the native methods and ideas of these primordial people.
They slaughtered them, they robbed them, they enslaved them, and baptized them; but they made small note of the customs and motives that changed and vanished under their assault.
Consider that he also wrote in 1902 (about contemporary America):
And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black? How will it deal with the yellow man? How will it tackle that alleged termite in the civilized woodwork, the Jew? Certainly not as races at all...
And for the rest, those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? Well, the world is a world, not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go.
It's not like I think Spain is amazing or was better than Britain in any way.
I'm just shocked how pivotal the Spanish contribution was to this country. I knew it was somewhat, but I had no idea it was so pervasive.
America originated in the imaginations of the Spanish creative elite.
America was green-lit by Spain after a passionate power-point presentation.
America was discovered by the boldest Spaniards seeking fame & riches.
America was settled & cultivated by industrious Spaniards for hundreds of years.
At some point, America was simply known as "Florida."
As any good silicon valley entrepreneur knows, it's not about where to end up... BUT WHERE YOU START!!
American Colonization is a Spanish venture.
1565 was the founding of Saint Augustine.
1607 was the founding of Jamestown.
You figure it out.
And yet I've personally grown up, as a Lopez, feeling ostracized or like I don't belong - not quite Hispanic, not quite American.
And yet now I'm learning that I may be one of the most American archetypes of all: Spanish-blood derived from an enterprising explorer, likely Native American mixed, a first-born generation in modern American soil from immigrant parents just like the first settlers from Spain, France, or yes, even Britain.
I'm starting to feel a stronger claim to this country than I ever have.
Every person who tries to oppress or enslave me based on my ethnicity, or the color of my skin, actually has less of a claim to this country than I do.
This Anglo-centric American origin myth appears to be a deliberate propaganda effort to promote a particular ethnic identity: English-speaking, nouveau aristocratic, parliamentary.
This has me starting to believe that our founding fathers used the ecstasy of freedom as a propaganda cover story to claim the land as their own. If so, it would be a brilliant stroke on their part - and extremely fucking American. Not a true liberation movement, but a smokescreen to accumulate power & wealth.
By pinpointing the origins of America as having roots in Jamestown, and not Saint Augustine, a clear message is being communicated. Saint Augustine may have been the first colony, but it was not the first English-speaking colony. Therefore, it's not truly "American."
Then again, "American" is a Spanish construct.
The labors of the Puritans do not seem equal (nor as influential) as those of the Spanish conquerors. Sorry. School books can keep pretending that this is where the American spirit derives from, but the truth is much more complicated.
By re-writing history in this way, a myth is being constructed in the minds of ordinary people that Spanish people, black people, Native Americans, women, are essentially non-persons.
And we wonder where the roots of American fascism lies.