World History Question
Or maybe one for the Americanists? I'm teaching about the Columbian exchange this week . One of the required readings makes a point that part of the problems Europeans had in dealing with the New World and Native Americans is that they didn't know how to fit the Native Americans into a world view based on the biblical creation. These difficulties contributed to an ongoing discussion about the humanity of the Native Americans, including church councils (Salamanca, IIRC) that defined whether or not they had souls, etc. Part of the reason for this was also because, at least for the Spanish, being human and capable of salvation meant that the Native Americans should be protected from being enslaved.
Makes sense to me. More or less (I'm condensing about 35 pp. into a paragraph here).
Here's where I'm stuck -- if humanity is one of the reasons that one should be protected from slavery, what was the justification for bringing African slaves to the New World? Because if one sticks to the biblical accounts and extrapolations therefrom, Africans were the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. So they'd definitely be human. Europeans would have known that some Africans were Muslims, so capable of religious belief, even if, to Christians, it was the wrong belief. So ... ??
I am not looking for answers that say anything simplistic like, "well, Europeans were trying to justify their racism to get rich." That's not my point. What I'm wondering is if anyone knows how Europeans justified this differentiation in treatment of Africans, who were more or less 'known' peoples, and Native Americans, who were 'new'. What were the rationales, if any?