December 13, 2020
The Pan-American Highway, a system of highways that stretch from Prudhoe Bay Alaska U.S.A all the way south to Valparaiso Chile, with a branch going further south in Chile to Quellon Chile; with the main branch going east from Valparaiso Chile to Buenos Aires Argentina then going all the way south to Ushuaia Argentina.
There is a relatively small break in the highway called the Darien Break, a 160 kilometer long by 50 kilometer wide stretch of swampy mountainous jungle between Panama and Columbia. It has been over 100 years since there were last talks about completing this stretch of road. It is said that the real reason for the break in the road is to prevent the drug cartels easier access to the north. Uhm right, they have submarines, airplanes, and drug mules and god knows whatever else means of moving their product, a lack of a paved highway is not much of a hurdle for them. To some extent I can appreciate the economic benefit to those poor folk who work non-coerced for the cartels, however, it will always be my firm belief that drug cartels are pure filth and that any and all members should be shot dead on sight arbitrarily. The same goes for pedophiles and rapists, and those who facilitate it.
For Spain, 1492 was a pivotal year, it was a place known as Iberia, loosely translated as “Hebrew”. The splintered waring kingdoms of the peninsula were first united under Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile when they married in 1469. During that decade, they started a campaign to roll back the Moors and bring in Catholicism. By January of 1492 with the fall of Granada, Spain was a “Christian” kingdom. March of that year saw the king and queen sign an edict for the expulsion of all Jews who would not convert to Christianity by July 31. August 3, of that year saw Christopher Columbus – Cristobal Colon to the Spanish sail to find a western route to India.
Columbus sighted land on October 12, 1492, and had returned to Spain by January of 1493. Upon his return, he showed as proof of his success, four “Indians”, as well as a selection of gold trinkets, as well as tales of a golden city. Isabella who they called “The Catholic” because of her piousness had those first golden trinkets fashioned in to an elaborate custody at the Cathedral of Toledo. There was much more to Colon’s voyage than meets the eye, there is evidence that he was a Jew, who was forcibly converted. It is likely that he may have been looking for new lands that could be settled as a new free area for the Jews. In his diaries he saw himself as the “fulfiller of ancient prophesies”. Whatever his personal ambitions, he was realistic enough to realize that gold was the key to any future endeavor.
He was able to convince the crown to send him back to the new world a second and third time, even a fourth because “the Lord would show him where the gold was born”. He was convinced that the river Orinoco was one of the four rivers of the land of Havilah. In November of 1504, Columbus returned to Spain where shortly after, Queen Isabella died, King Ferdinand still had a soft spot for Columbus, but decided that he was a better Admiral than governor, and decided to let others fill that role. Here begins the rape of South America.
Hispaniola, present day Haiti/the Dominican republic, saw the Spanish using local Indians as slave labour and they mined gold in tremendous quantities. In less than 20 years, the Spanish treasury saw 500,000 ducats (about $80 million in today’s dollars) worth of gold from the island alone. This pattern was to repeat itself over and over again across the length and breadth of central and South America. As the native populations died from disease or fled before the Spanish conquest, gold veins were exhausted. The Spaniards euphoria soon turned to disappointment and despair, and they searched ever further afield. Come 1517, Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba sailed from Cuba to Yucatán to procure more slaves. Here they found stone buildings, temples, idols of gods and goddesses, and a people called Maya, and they had gold.
Most of what we know of the Spanish arrival and conquest of Yucatán is from a report from Friar Diego de Landa, and his 1566 work entitled Relacíon de las Cosas de Yucatan. Francisco Hernandez and his crew saw a large step pyramid, idols, statues of animals, and a large inland city. The natives that they tried to capture put up a hell of a fight, even undaunted by cannon fire from the Spanish ships. There were heavy casualties on both sides Hernandez himself, was badly wounded. When Hernandez returned to Cuba, he highly recommended returning to Yucatán because “the land was good and rich because of the gold”.
The next year another expedition left Cuba for Yucatán, this time they landed on the island of Cozumel, and discovered New Spain, Pánuco, the province of Tabasco, renaming the areas. This time the Spaniards were craftier, they brought goods to barter with as well as weapons. The Spaniards were met with both friendly and hostile natives; they felt the sting of spear and arrow made from obsidian stone. They examined many artfully crafted objects, some made from common stone, others semiprecious stone, others appeared as gold but on examination was just copper. To their surprise there was little gold nor sources of it. The Maya said they obtained it by trading with the Aztec, people from the North West, the highland heartland of Mexico where it is plentiful and abundant.