Columbus ordered all residents over the age of 14 to hand over to the Spaniards a thimble of gold dust or 25 pounds of cotton every three months (in areas where gold was not available). Those who fulfilled this quota were hung around their necks with a copper token indicating the date of receipt of the last tribute.
The token gave its owner the right to three months of life. Those caught without this token or with expired ones were cut off the hands of both hands, hung them around the victim's neck and sent her to die in her village. Columbus, who had previously been involved in the slave trade along the west coast of Africa, apparently adopted this form of execution from the Arab slave traders. During the governorship of Columbus, in Hispaniola alone, up to 10 thousand Indians were killed in this way. It was almost impossible to meet the established quota. The locals had to give up growing food and all other activities in order to dig for gold. Hunger began. Weakened and demoralized, they became easy prey for diseases brought in by the Spaniards. Such as the influenza carried by pigs from the Canary Islands, which were brought to Hispaniola by the second expedition of Columbus. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Tainos died in this first pandemic of the American genocide. An eyewitness describes the huge piles of Hispaniola residents who died from the flu, who had no one to bury. The Indians tried to run wherever they looked: across the entire island, to the mountains, even to other islands. But there was no salvation anywhere. Mothers killed their children before killing themselves. Whole villages resorted to mass suicide by throwing themselves off cliffs or taking poison. But even more death was in the hands of the Spaniards.
In addition to atrocities, which at least could be explained by the cannibalistic rationality of systematic profit, the genocide on Attila, and then on the continent, included seemingly irrational, unjustified forms of violence on a massive scale and pathological, sadistic forms. Contemporary Columbus sources describe how the Spanish colonists hanged, roasted on skewers, and burned Indians at the stake. Children were chopped into pieces to feed the dogs.
Those who fall are cut off their heads. They tell of children who are locked in houses and burned, and who are stabbed to death if they walk too slowly. It is common practice to cut off women's breasts and tie heavy weights to their legs before dropping them into a lake or lagoon. They talk about babies torn from their mothers, killed and used as road signs. Fugitive or "wandering" Indians are cut off their limbs and sent to their villages, having severed hands and noses hanging around their necks. They talk about "pregnant women, children and the elderly, who are caught as much as possible" and thrown into special pits, at the bottom of which sharp stakes are dug and "they are left there until the pit is full." And a lot, a lot more."
As a result, of the approximately 25 million inhabitants who inhabited the Mexican kingdom at the time of the arrival of the conquistadors, by 1595 only 1.3 million remained alive. The rest were mostly tortured to death in the mines and plantations of "New Spain".
In the Andes, where Pizarro's gangs were wielding swords and whips, by the end of the 16th century the population had dropped from 14 million to less than 1 million. The reasons were the same as in Mexico and Central America. As a Spaniard in Peru wrote in 1539, “The Indians here are completely destroyed and are perishing … It is praying with a cross to be given food for God's sake. But [the soldiers] kill all the lamas for nothing more than to make candles … The Indians are not left with anything for sowing, and since they have no livestock and they have nowhere to take it, they can only starve to death."
Modern historians come to believe that in the Caribbean there was a whole network of "butcher shops" where the bodies of the Indians were sold as dog food. Like everything else in the legacy of Columbus, cannibalism developed on the mainland. A letter from one of the conquerors of the Inca empire has survived, in which he writes: “… when I returned from Cartagena, I met a Portuguese named Rohe Martin. On the porch of his house there were parts of the hacked Indians to feed his dogs, as if they were wild animals …”(Stanard, 88)
In general, civilized Europeans brought "universal values" to the American barbarians …