The Unknown History of Saint Augustine and the "Spanish Black Legend"

The Unknown History of Saint Augustine and the "Spanish Black Legend"

Posted by Manny Miami on 31st Jul 2019

The Unknown History of Saint Augustine and the "Spanish Black Legend"

Arriving at the top of the hill, Theodore Roosevelt - Medal of Honor of the United States Congress and future American president - “shot the Spaniards who were retiring, watching one fall and, although he was not sure if he had killed him, he boasted: 'I killed a Spaniard like a hare with my own hand. "Gone is the fact that 700 Spaniards had resisted the US attack by some 15,000 men on the hill of San Juan (Cuba) for 11 hours and that they lacked of the fearsome machine guns Maxim, Roosevelt arrived, in addition, when the Buffalo Soldiers - African-American military - had won the hillock and there were only machine-gunned bodies, however, in the American miniseries Rough Riders (1997) or the production of Hollywood Night in the museum (Shawn Levy, 2006), Roosevelt is described as a hero who liberates oppressed peoples and deserves a distinction. These and other stories about the black legend are told in La ima gene of the presence of Spain in America (1492-1898) in British and American cinema, a work awarded by the Ministry of Defense directed by Margarita Robles.

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The captain and historian Esteban Vicente Boisseau recounts in his work how the black legend has been transposed to Anglo-Saxon cinema and, for geopolitical reasons, incorporates stereotypes against Spain. "Without a doubt, the African-American population would consider it inadmissible that in Disney parks there was an attraction, set to the sound of cheerful music, that showed Africans captured by pirates." “The message conveyed in Pirates of the Caribbean is that stealing, torturing and killing Spaniards, selling, buying and abusing Hispanic women and looting is not only justified, but it is a joyful event, a real fun,” says Boisseau.

In the film 1492: the conquest of paradise (Ridley Scott, 1992) shows a dark Castile that does not cease to execute heretics. Since the Spanish Inquisition killed about 3,000 people in three centuries, according to Boisseau in his work, it would be expected that, since Henry VIII murdered more than 50,000 Catholics, in the films about his reign continuous executions were shown. But no.

Years later, Felipe II decided to invade England by the continuous attack of the privateers, the execution of Maria Estuardo and the persecutions against the English Catholics. He organized a great army that in 1588, after an encounter with the English fleet, ended up plunging by a storm. Professor María José Rodríguez Salgado revealed, in addition, that "no Spanish ship was lost as a result of combat." In the British film Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007), Walter Raleigh is shown directing an English ship on fire against the Spanish fleet, causing the gigantic explosion of numerous enemy naos, although the reality is that the army is sank several days later by the storm.

Hollywood films enhance the image of the Anglo-Saxon colonization of North America without reflecting its Spanish past. The passage of the Spaniards is shown as a memory that left no trace. In Dancing with Wolves (Kevin Costner, 1990), the protagonist, a lieutenant of the Union, befriends a Sioux tribe in which an old man teaches a conqueror's helmet while saying that those who brought him arrived at the time of the his grandfather's grandfather, and that they were eventually thrown out, giving the impression that for two centuries there was no continued Spanish presence in California, Florida, New Mexico or Texas.

The deed of Francisco Pizarro, who conquered the Inca Empire with less than 170 men, is distorted by highlighting that he was a traitor for killing Atahualpa, as in the British film The Royal Sun Hunt (Irving Lerner, 1969). On the contrary, the English and Anglo-Americans do not delve into how they betrayed, between 1787 and 1871, 389 treaties signed with the Indians, practicing methods of ethnic cleansing.

The films never do justice to the protective role of the Spanish rulers, who introduced improvements in America and put an end to human sacrifices and cannibalism. The monarchs Isabel I, Carlos I and Felipe II developed a network of hospitals and universities that benefited everyone, whether Spanish or native. The United States Government did not recognize citizenship to all Indians until 1924, four centuries later.

Shortly after his arrival in Virginia in 1607, English settlers committed crimes against the natives. While Captain John Smith noted for his cruelty, he appears as a kind and kind character in Pocahontas (1995). American professor Theodore Jojola, of Indian origin, commented that "the English governor Ratcliffe is transformed [by Hollywood] into a Spanish conqueror eager for gold."

These images have been used with a "political purpose" to justify the fight against Spain for hegemony in the Americas. Once hostilities began in Cuba, films emerged that justified their invasion. The power of the misrepresentation of fictions such as Rough Riders has had enough weight so that, more than a century after that war, "it was granted to the clumsy colonel of volunteers and then President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt a Medal of Honor of Congress that the American military commanders of the time themselves considered that they did not deserve, "explains Boisseau. He killed a fleeing soldier from the back and whose detachment had 20 times fewer men than the attacker.

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