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When Columbus arrived in the New World for the first time in October 1492, he hoped that China and the Far East was his destination. Instead, he found a variety of indigenous peoples known as the Arawak and the Taino, who lived in the Caribbean for hundreds of years. Initially, relations between the Spanish colonists and Taino natives were amicable due to the fact that the Spanish had only one hundred men and could not pose a significant threat to the Tainos and the generosity of the Tainos (Poole, “What Became of the Taino?”) However, after Columbus led a second voyage with over 1,000 colonists, the relationship deteriorated markedly. Columbus was under orders to strip the land of as much gold and silver as possible and use Taino manpower in this pursuit. He also sought to convert the Taino to Christianity. When some Taino tribesmen balked, Columbus used their refusal and the excuse of 39 dead Spaniards left behind from his first voyage to wage war on the Taino. Over the next 30 years, the Taino population dropped from a 1492 peak of approximately three million to less than ten thousand....
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