Slavery in the New World: The Saga of the Amerindians
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This chapter covers cross-border labor mobility focusing on the saga of the Amerindians—the indigenous populations that lived in the New World before Columbus discovered the Americas. Available literature suggests that almost 90 percent of the Amerindians had perished within 100 years of European colonization of the Americas. Originally, this catastrophic decline in the indigenous population was attributed largely to the population’s apparent incapacity to resist ‘virgin soil pandemic.’ Recent literature however suggests that the trauma of coerced labor and slavery was also largely responsible for the precipitous decline of the population. The slavery and servitude of the Amerindians was indeed the first large-scale exploitation of foreign workers by European colonial powers outside Europe, which had far exceeded that of the black Africans in the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries.
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