The process of recognition, conquest and colonization of the American continent triggered from 1492 was extremely complex and dilated in time and, therefore, can not be subjected to a simplistic and simplifying reading, since there are many readings that can be made about its different meanings and meanings, how many were the actors that starred it: sailors sailors, royal officials, businessmen, men of war, religious of the different orders, women who crossed the ocean with their husbands, African slaves, indigenous groups, encomenderos. Our knowledge about this long process is mediated, in addition, by the sources we have -possessers all of them of an intentionality and written from a place of particular enunciation- and by the distance of five centuries that exists between those years and the current time.
To this must be added the fact that throughout the nineteenth century, both in Mexico and in Spain, the historical discourse was used as a fundamental instrument in the construction of the Nation and of contemporary national identities. The national historiographic story, unlike the scientific historiography cultivated by professional historians, was characterized by the search for national essences that would remain unchanged throughout the centuries and understood the interaction between different human groups as relationships or conflicts between Nations The conquest of America, consequently, was reinterpreted in the 19th century -on both sides of the Atlantic- in a nationalist key and if for Spanish historiography those events represented a moment of glory and splendor in which Spain had taken its civilizing action beyond ocean, for Mexican historiography those events represented the destruction of a flourishing civilization that lived in a kind of earthly paradise. The letter that the Mexican president sent to the King of Spain is nourished by that distorted vision of the past, as are the visceral responses of certain political and opinion leaders expressed on both sides of the sea. In front of the media noise, it is essential to open a space for peaceful reflection and not fall into simplifications.
Certainly, the fact that a head of state asks another public apology for events that occurred five centuries ago, when none of those nations existed, is meaningless. The initiatives of this sign that have been carried out by the leaders of Germany, France or Canada are right to be, precisely because there is an acknowledgment of the responsibility on the part of who executed the deplorable action and the possibility that the victim receives that apology , offer your forgiveness and from there generate a reconciliation and build a horizon of expectation other than a positive and hopeful sign. In 1519 neither Mexico nor Spain existed as nations, but it was precisely as a result of the projection of the experiences of different sign – political, military, economic, cultural, religious, spiritual, ideological and artistic – developed in the Mediterranean space throughout the low Middle Ages on the Atlantic spaces that formed the Hispanic Monarchy, a geopolitical entity of planetary dimensions conformed by different territories and with multiple centers of power (Madrid, Lima, Mexico) in which people, financial capitals, ideas, manufactures, natural products, works of art and luxury objects, among others, circulated with enormous rapidity in both directions, generating common tastes, a shared cultural identity and a complex political framework that was structured around the figure of the monarch, a sovereign absent from most of its domains but that was present through its representatives – officials and au tories of all levels- of propaganda, architecture and plastic arts.
When studying the past, it is imperative not to project the values and categories of the time from which it is written on past tenses. History as a humanistic discipline does not have the task of judging, condemning, or absolving, but, on the contrary, it must explain the historical processes and the actions of people who lived in other times based on their own referential frameworks; For this reason, for example, the concept of genocide can not be used to explain the mortality of the American populations in the sixteenth century, since it is characteristic of the 20th century, just as it can not be said that indigenous peoples were barbarians because they practiced ritual sacrifice, for the notion of barbarism is a cultural category that has its own historicity and that has been used throughout the centuries as a mechanism to dehumanize the enemy and, consequently, legitimize their domination.
The letter of pres
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