Colonization: a crime?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Do you think deaths of “Natives” during white settlement of America was a crime or not? I say no…?

…because the settlement of America by Europeans and eventually others was necessary and fair. The “Natives” attacked and killed many settlers who had committed no aggression. To prevent further murders, early settlers began to battle the hostile “Natives”. And the “Natives” murdered in revenge. And so on it went.

Peace could only be achieved by destroying the hostile elements completely.

All those deaths could have been prevented if the “Natives” had been more unselfish, friendly, and reasonable, rather than killing newcomers just because they didn’t like them.

Crime is a relative term. Interracial marriage used to be a crime and now isn’t. Slavery is a crime now, but didn’t use to be.

Also, you are wrong in your assumption that most of native deaths were battle-related. The evidence that we have today points to the diseases carried by settlers and their pigs as the leading cause of death during colonization of the Americas… Europe fared somewhat better fighting against syphilis that crossed the Atlantic in the opposite direction…

Finally, applying value judgments to history is simply counterproductive. History is about facts; moral judgments only add preconceived notions that encourage researchers to exaggerate importance of some facts and diminish that of other facts… The facts, when it comes to “settlement” of the Americas, are clear; the “settlement” was in fact an un-settlement. Population numbers have substantially decreased during the first century of colonization. Estimates vary, but 60-90% decline seems to be the range. Population decline was more severe in some regions than in others. In parts of Mexico, for example, population returned to the 1490 levels only by 1950…

I would highly recommend “1491” by Charles Mann for introduction into the subject and the controversy surrounding it:…

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