Here we celebrate the day of our independence, what’s the National Day of your country?
The day of the dependence.
In Spain we raise our flag in honor of the day we took away the independence from those who used to prosper in America. It was decided that we owe our “Hispanity” to the extermination and exploitation of a foreign land and we established the Day of the Spanish Race, until today proudly celebrated every October 12th.
America was a virgin land in the use of its rich nature and resources, populated by endless societies and great civilizations.
With certain technologic virginity too, compared with the insatiable Europe, but abundant in culture, innovation, and sustainability. An ideological balance that nowadays seems more convenient than the overflowing technology that we will hardly be able to control anymore.
A land that bustled diversity and with principles worth more than our current social values. Like the absence of homophobia and transphobia. Social stigmas the Catholic church tried to establish them, the same way they successfully did in our own society. Instead of gender roles, Native Americans only knew about universal love and praised same sex lovers by calling them Two Spirits, considered sacred for envisioning the world with both genders’ eyes.
Perhaps the most recognised Two Spirits was the Lakota warrior Osh-Tisch (“Finds Them and Kills Them”), transgender that heroically rescued a tribemate during the Battle of Rosebud Creek in 1876.
On the left, Osh-Tisch poses in female clothes next to her wife.
Christianism judged them as homosexuals and transexual, trying to erase them from the history books for fear to the great freedom of thought it meant. It’s recorded how Spanish monks got rid of related Aztec Codex.
“Wish that it might be extinguished before it be more fully recorded”The American artist George Catlin went as far as to say
Still, we owe more than “Our Hispanity” to those legendary civilizations. We preserved their advancements in civil engineering or the Maya astronomy, divine works like chocolate itself or impossible arquitectures. Pyramids and fortages in the clouds whose mysteries are almost as far to be solved as the development potential of their societies. Even though neither the Chinese or Viking explorers they had previous contact with meant threat at all, the European hunger the Spanish ships brought fed out of 70 million lives in 150 years, taking away all chance of prosperity or independence at all.
The sight of those overwhelming ships bursting men at the mount of prominent creatures brought a new path to their history. Capable of making the sky shake with cannons with the only order of one hand or shooting with a stick in the other.
Along with the diseases they were immune to since centuries before, the Spaniards’ invasion swept away bigger cities than any found in Europe, like Tenochtitlan (City of Mexico). No native science helped against diseases like leprosy and flu, cough and typhus, or bibles and colonialism.
Christopher Columbus reached the claimed India on an October 12th indeed. Even if slavery wasn’t the original goal of the whole project, it happened to become the Genoese‘ first commercial practice when he sent to the Mediterranean four caravels with 550 Indigenous slaves. Despite rejectionism and comparison with other colonialisms in search of redemption, there is today enough proof of the long amount of slavery business the Spanish colonization hosted. Not even Isabel I’s legal regulations stopped this business we nowadays have legit proof of.
In search of Gold, god, and glory, he found gold, crop, slaves, silver, and seeds; Seeds that blossomed capitalism, industrial revolutions, and a new landscape in America that, far from “civilizing” or developing their people, keeps disrupting and influencing their economy and society.
A tiny fleet of men with nothing to regret, for a continent with spare delights to collect. The then small Spanish nation bid and the auction proudly cleared.
Opportunity that jobless villagers and lower novelty couldn’t miss, desperate for some kind of glory, like Francisco Pizarro or Hernán Cortés. Far from blinding themselves before the cruelty they brought, they took advantage of local beliefs and gunpowder to write their own legends. It’s the same obsession for glory that has motivated Spain and other Western countries to raise statues of those fake heroes centuries later, some even in the same land those names orphaned.
The Spanish patent didn’t last though. Young European capitalism lacked soil for its roots. Once the bottle was uncorked, European hunger flooded every corner of the continent like an empty glass. An empty glass that had actually always been full, brimming with art and customs. European hunger spilled everything once had a name, all to collect glory and fortune they don’t even preserve anymore. The hunger of the church stepped firmly over the spilled so that it would never grow again. And when the hunger of the capital didn’t have glass left to drink, this turned its ships to Africa and slaved a continent to continue exploiting the other one.
The land that once was home of pyramids and stars, turned to host nothing but pandemies, mass anhiquilations and suicides, and slavery.
Although, as you probably already heard, who wins the war, writes the legend.
We might never hear the fragile voice that claims responsibilities for those casual adventures. Everything left to hear is the racial barrier the Spanish Caste System taught us, our faith on the essentiality of christianization, and the excuses of a Black Legend to not discredit a country that keeps nostalgically crediting what was inexcusable.
Spain is a worth celebrating country because of its intense culture and beautiful history beyond its pioneering role in the colonization of America. There are multiple dates we owe our hispanity far more than the day that Italian slaver came across a continent whose conquest didn’t leave more relevant heritage to Spain than the bad fame of La Leyenda Negra.
Some would say the celebration isn’t about the death tolls, but Spain’s merit. Some would say it’s not about the cultural extermination, but Spanish culture extension. Some would say they aren’t celebrating Colonialism but Hispanity, and then they would celebrate it with military parades. Some will say Spain is slandered for the conquest of America, but then when October 12th comes, they will jump on board and celebrate it, just because they didn’t come up with another date to call National Day.
Although… Is That All the Truth You Want To Hear?
Read the other side of the story and choose your own truth
Despite counterpropaganda and black legends, a great part of the colors our contemporary world wears are Spanish footprints.