Indian Harvest: The Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade and Diaspora from Española to the Circum-Caribbean, 1492-1542
Stone, Erin Woodruff
This project investigates the impact of the Spanish conquest on the indigenous populations of Espanola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) and the subsequent rise of an Indian slave trade and diaspora throughout the circum-Caribbean. Tainos of Espanola were not only the first peoples encountered by the Spanish in the New World, but the patterns arising from these early interactions eventually shaped all subsequent Spanish and indigenous relationships throughout Latin America. I argue that indigenous slavery developed through the process of "pacifying" and populating Espanola, ultimately shaping multiple legal, religious, and economic colonial institutions. The Indian slave trade then effectively created what is recognized as the colonial system by late 16th century. Both in the Caribbean and beyond, the search for indigenous slaves inspired many missions of exploration. Concurrently the rapid decline of indigenous populations, eventually led to large-scale African slavery. Just as many scholars jump over the formative years of the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean, they also assume that Indian slavery was a limited and short-lived practice with African slavery replacing it in a matter of years. However, my research shows that the Spanish conducted indigenous slavery on a much larger scale and for a much longer duration than previously understood.