Video: The Invasion of America—Watch the Indigenous Land Base Shrink
American Indians in the United States know there was a time when we represented 100 percent of the population and owned 100 percent of the land. When we think of how we got where we are, the date that matters is 1492, because the Norse settlements that steal Columbus’s thunder were well north of the U.S.
Of course, there was no U.S. in 1492, and there would not be for almost 300 years. Columbus kicked off the greatest treasure hunt in human history, and the Spanish royalty he represented hauled off the lion’s share of precious metals.
Gold and silver were not the whole story. If they had been, the colonists could have been bought off with mining concessions. Europe was feudal when the Americas beckoned, and the basis of wealth in a feudal society is land. Every tract, or fief, belonged to some warlord, and the right to the labor of the actual occupants “ran with the land.”
Land titles were derived from warlord kings, and the kings got their title by the grace of God, who must have blessed their battles with other kings. Kings ruled by Divine Right, and the wealth of the royal houses of Europe came from the vassals who owned the serfs who actually worked the land.
In the Age of Discovery, the European royals at first funded exploration in hope of gold for the taking or a route to India around the choke points that made trade with India so expensive. Once the land was looted of portable wealth, the European warlords licensed colonization. Not colonization by individuals—who could come to style themselves kings and get too big for their britches—but rather colonization by corporations under royal charter. The charter contained rules for the distribution of the profits.
Keep reading to watch the video of the shrinking land base on the last page.
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